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Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula launched the Easter Road Safety Campaign on April 12. Picture: SUPPLIED
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula launched the Easter Road Safety Campaign on April 12. Picture: SUPPLIED

Motorists who have been unable to renew their expired driving licence cards have been given a further grace period until May 5, but transport minister Fikile Mbalula says no further extensions will be possible.

“The end of the state of disaster means we can no longer issue directions that extend further the grace period,” Mbalula said on Tuesday in Ekurhuleni at the launch of the Easter Road Safety campaign.

To deal with a backlog, he had previously extended the March 31 deadline for learner licences, driving licence cards, temporary driving licences and professional driving permits to April 15.

“We continue to urge those whose driving licence cards expired between March 26 2020 and August 31 2021 to renew their licence. This means affected motorists have until  May 5 to renew their expired driving licence cards.”

Mbalula promised an increased presence of traffic officials on roads this Easter weekend, with a focus on the use of safety belts, the roadworthiness of vehicles, fatigue, drunk driving, pedestrian safety and dangerous driving which includes speeding, recklessness and overtaking on barrier lines.

“We are cognisant that this is going to be one of the most challenging Easter weekends as we expected increased volumes of traffic due to the lifting of the state of disaster. Our analysis of monthly road fatality statistics since 2019 for the months of January and February, indicate that road deaths are on an upward trajectory this year,” he said.

All provinces experienced a spike in fatalities in the first two months of 2022 with Gauteng leading at 355 deaths, followed by KwaZulu-Natal with 269, the Western Cape with 249, Limpopo with 239 and the Eastern Cape with 232. 

Mbalula said the leading causes of fatal crashes in the two-month period were accidents with pedestrians, followed by single vehicles overturning, hit-and-run and head-on collisions. Drunk driving was suspected to be an underlying factor in the hit-and-run incidents and overturning of single vehicles.

“When we released the January statistics in February this year, we made a commitment to intensify law-enforcement operations focused on drunk driving,” he said.

“We specifically pronounced our zero tolerance for ‘phuza Thursdays’. Since then, we have conducted 147 ‘phuza weekend’ operations, resulting in 483 arrests. This campaign will be strengthened over the coming Easter long weekend.”

Mbalula had earlier undertaken to release road fatality statistics monthly. However, that did not allow researchers sufficient time to do a proper analysis to make the data meaningful and inform resource allocation, he said. Thus, the statistics would be released quarterly.

“We urge all the would-be travellers to stagger their travelling. We further urge them to travel during daytime when visibility is much improved and their agility is always at its best. 

“There will be a number of road blocks. This is necessitated to ensure that our roads are not overflooded [sic] and all our law-enforcement agencies, disaster management team and health team are on high alert.”



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