Expect more roadblocks in South Africa this week – here’s what police will be looking for

 ·25 Mar 2024

Various provinces and the national Department of Transport have launched their policing campaigns for the coming long weekend, looking to clamp down on road abusers over the busy Easter period.

Thousands of motorists are expected to take to holiday destinations this weekend as South Africans celebrate religious or leisure time over the Easter weekend.

The Department of Transport, headed by Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga, launched its road safety campaign on 20 March, aiming to clamp down on abuse on the roads.

Over 12,000 people die on South Africa’s roads each year – though, positively, this is a reduction from 14,000 deaths in previous years.

Despite the overall reduction in deaths, Easter weekend is particularly fatal, with the department recording a 40% increase in deaths over the weekend in 2023 at 225 fatalities in 185 accidents over the four-day period.

Speaking at the launch of the campaign, Chikunga said that the Easter weekend road safety push shouldn’t be limited to only one weekend but a mindset that should be adopted all year round.

“We all have the right to life, and no one has the right to threaten and claim that life. Drivers need to adhere to traffic signs and general rules of the road, never drink and drive, and always respect pedestrians,” she said.

“Likewise, pedestrians should respect the road. Parents need to teach children about safe ways of using the road like walking on the side facing oncoming traffic, checking if it is safe to cross the road by looking both ways before crossing and never playing on the road, even when there are no cars.”

As with previous years, metros will be increasing their policing over the weekend, with more roadblocks being set up targeting:

  • Unroadworthy vehicles
  • Drunk driving
  • Speeding
  • Expired driving licences
  • Expired vehicle licences

Metros like the City of Cape Town said it would be setting more vehicle checkpoints, with a particular focus on long-distance operators and vehicle safety.

During the week of Easter in 2023, the city’s enforcement services made 361 arrests, including 80 for driving under the influence of alcohol, and issued 72 465 fines for various transgressions, it said.

“For most people, this is a time of relaxation and spending time with their loved ones. For criminals, it is an opportunity to exploit that holiday spirit, so we urge the public to be vigilant wherever they go,” said Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, JP Smith.

“Experience has also taught us to expect increased levels of alcohol use and related trauma over the payday or month-end periods. The long weekend will likely further complicate matters.

“Our enforcement strategy is to ensure public safety, but staff will not hesitate to act against anyone wilfully putting themselves or others at risk. Everyone ought to know by now the importance of responsible behaviour and what that looks like, so consider yourself warned,” he said.

Some of the most popular routes during this time are listed below. Drivers are urged to move with extreme caution while travelling along them.

  • N4 eastbound: It will be busy, as it not only links Gauteng to Mpumalanga, but the corridor is a link to Mozambique and Eswatini.

  • N3 from Gauteng to KZN: is a hugely popular holiday route that will see many people head to the coast for the Easter break and school holidays.

  • N1 North and the N2 up the Garden Route and into the Eastern Cape: These are likely to be extremely busy in both directions.

Read: More than 1,400 fatalities on South Africa’s roads over the festive season

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