18 die on SA's roads on New Year's Day

In the latest accident, a suspected drag race killed five people in Kagiso on the West Rand.

File picture: The wreckage of a car on the N1 Highway between Laignsburg and Beaufort West on 16 December 2012, in which four people died. Picture: Melvyn Boiskin/iWitness.

JOHANNESBURG - A suspected drag race gone wrong killed five people on Gauteng's West Rand on Tuesday just a day after an Mpumalanga teenager allegedly killed five people while illegally driving his parents' bakkie.

The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) has reported that 18 people were killed in road accidents on New Year's Day alone.

The suspected drag race turned deadly when one of two vehicles believed to be racing through Kagiso crashed into a pedestrian.

An elderly pedestrian died on the scene, while four youngsters in a bakkie were killed.

Police are still hunting for the driver of the second car, who is said to have fled the murder scene.

Meanwhile, an Mpumalanga teen is facing murder charges after he lost control of a bakkie he had taken from his parents.

Five teen passengers were killed and six others injured in that crash, including the driver.

Police said the car was travelling towards Dwarsloop when the bakkie overturned in Bushbuckridge.

Spokesperson for the provincial Department of Community Safety, Security and Liaison Department, Joseph Mabuza, said the Nissan Navara was transporting approximately 13 young people.

He said results from their investigation would determine the department's next step.


Authorities said the province's roads deaths toll now stands at just over a 150.

A 50-year-old man is the latest victim.

He died after losing control of his jeep near Pearly Beach, Gansbaai.

Traffic Chief Kenny Africa said too many people died on New Year's Day.

"Within the first four to five hours of the New Year, the total fatalities for January is six."

Africa said the man died while travelling on a gravel road.

More than 1,200 people have been killed in road accidents since the start of December.

A number that is expected to rise with the holiday rush home beginning on Wednesday.