Vehicle tracking company Tracker and data analytics company Lightstone have released a new report looking at whether South African motorists are following the calls to stay at home during the country’s 21-day lockdown.
The report is based on vehicle movement comparisons before and during the lockdown, with the data showing that most South Africans are doing their bit to “flatten the curve”.
Nationally, South African vehicle activity had already dropped by up to 20% before the lockdown, relative to the corresponding day in early March. Vehicle activity has subsequently plummeted by 75% since the implementation of the lockdown.
The significant decline in vehicle movement during the first three days of confinement followed a slight increase in passenger vehicle activity in the two days prior, the researchers said.
They noted that this increase in vehicle movement is likely due to citizens shopping in preparation for being confined to their homes with many having been paid on the 25th, as observed by the reports of lengthy queues and sold out stock at stores in the days before lockdown.
While the data does show a broad level of compliance, it should be noted that at a local level the data may not tell the full story as many South Africans have no options but to leave their homes.
“It is important to note that not all areas will be able to curtail movement to exactly the same extent. Some areas are more likely to have, as their residents, greater numbers of people who are still travelling as essential services workers,” said Linda Reid, head of Data for Lightstone.
Provincially, Gauteng and the Western Cape demonstrate the highest compliance for staying off our roads, with passenger vehicle activity reducing between 75% and 80% during the first two days of lockdown.
The highest compliance from taxis and buses is observed in KwaZulu-Natal with a 76% reduction in vehicle movement, while the highest reduction in the movement of commercial vehicles is observed in Gauteng at 73%.
Looking at the data at a more local level, the researchers found that the in the two most compliant provinces, Sandton in Gauteng and Durbanville, Franschhoek and Noordhoek in the Western Cape show a greater than 90% reduction in vehicle movement.
Conversely, the least stay at home compliance is observed in Khayelitsha and Gugulethu in the Western Cape with a reduction in vehicle activity of less than 50%.
Towns like Blue Downs in the Western Cape and Soweto and Katlehong in Gauteng have also only reduced their vehicle activity by between 60% and 70%, the researchers said.