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Road accidents claim 237 lives in less than a week

Minister Dipuo Peters has confirmed 237 people were killed in 179 collisions between Freedom Day & yesterday.

FILE: The fatal crash on the R41 in Randfontein. Picture: Emily Corke/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Transport Department has confirmed that 237 people were killed in 179 collisions on the country's roads between Freedom Day and Monday.

Minister Dipuo Peters released the official figures in Pretoria today.

Peters says she was particularly perturbed by four major accidents this weekend, which claimed about 30 lives.

These include a taxi crash in Randfontein in which 15 people died and a collision in which nine people were killed, seven of them Wits University students, in Limpopo.

Peters says she's concerned about the causes of these accidents.

"Most worrying is drunk driving, overtaking, or overtaking when it is unsafe to do so, and reckless and negligent driving and speeding."

KwaZulu-Natal had the most incidents, with 39 crashes and 49 deaths followed by Gauteng, with 29 accidents and 45 fatalities and then Limpopo with 23 crashes and 39 deaths.

'SADDEST MOMENT IN THE HISTORY OF SA'

Minister Dipuo Peters has described the past long weekend as the saddest moment in the history of South Africa.

She has called the past long weekend an "extra-ordinary" one.

The weekend began on Freedom Day last Wednesday, and numerous people took two days' leave extending over the weekend right up to the Workers' Day holiday yesterday.

Peters says this increased traffic, combined with payday, saw people take to the roads in numbers.

"We know that payday weekends are generally characterised by high levels of alcohol and this long weekend was not an exception."

She says all of these factors made the weekend one of the saddest South Africa has ever seen.

"This past long weekend was one of the saddest moments in the history of our country."

The minister has also conveyed her condolences to the families of those killed - wishing the injured a speedy recovery.

The minister has also wished those injured, a speedy recovery.

"I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of government, to send our deepest condolences to the families and friends for the loss of their loved ones, and those who have been injured a speedy recovery."

LISTEN: 237 people die on SA roads over the long weekend

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