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Corrupt officials partly to blame for road deaths, says Transport Dept

Minister Blade Nzimande released the preliminary figures in Pretoria on Wednesday, with figures showing an increase in fatalities from this holiday season, compared to the same time last year.

A vehicle at the scene of an accident on the N3 on Sunday 6 January. Picture: Free State Health/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG – The Transport Department says that corrupt police officials are partially to blame for the increased number of road deaths in the country.

Minister Blade Nzimande released the preliminary figures in Pretoria on Wednesday, with figures showing an increase in fatalities from this holiday season, compared to the same time last year.

A total of 1,612 people were killed on the country's roads, up from 1,527 in 2017/18 holiday period.

Nzimande says even though his department wants to re-classify some road traffic offenses to schedule 5, it's also important to make sure that traffic officials don't accept bribes.

He says that 90% of all accidents during the holidays were due to poor road user behaviour, including speeding while driving or walking under the influence of alcohol were also to blame.

He says that motorists believe that they can bribe officers.

“People joke about it, that they can afford to break the rules as long as they’ve got a spare R1,000 in the pocket. They know that they’re going to negotiate their way out.

“We’re not saying all our road enforcement officers are bad, but we do have this as a very serious problem.”

He says not all officers are corrupt and his department will continue to prosecute both motorists and officers who are involved in bribery.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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