Mpumalanga Festive Road Safety


Mpumalanga Festive Road Safety

Mpumalanga, 23 December 2022 – With traffic volumes surging in Mpumalanga as thousands of travellers flock to the province’s many famous tourist spots, the South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL) has shifted its road safety programme into top gear to ensure a joyous holiday season.

Madoda Mthembu, National Operations and Maintenance manager for SANRAL’s Northern Region, said the roads agency had appointed maintenance contractors to monitor the condition of roads daily, considering the heightened volumes of traffic expected over the peak December period in the province.

Mthembu also said that extra attention had been paid to pothole repairs and Route Patrol Service contractors were on duty to ensure main routes were safe for travellers.

He encouraged motorists to report any issues to Route Managers who supervise maintenance projects along SANRAL roads.

“We’ve put up signs with their contact details so they can be easily notified and quickly attend to issues that may arise.”

Routes expected to see the highest high traffic volumes include the N2, N4, N17, R23 and the R40.

These roads were also identified by the provincial Department of Health as being among the “hot spots” for medical emergencies and as such Emergency Medical Services (EMS) units have been strategically deployed in these areas to aid rapid response.

“We will continue to ensure our visibility and emergency preparedness geared towards rapid response to emergencies in these hot spots throughout the festive season,” said Mpumalanga Health MEC Sasekani Manzini.

Madoda counted the maintenance of road infrastructure, particularly the prevention of potholes, to be among the greatest challenges faced by SANRAL, due to the age and condition of certain roads.

However, he also emphasised that the roads agency was committed to repairing potholes and had partnered with the national Department of Transport on Operation Vala Zonke, to fix all potholes in the country by next February.

The newly developed Karino Interchange is also expected to ease traffic congestion along the N4 route from Mbombela to Nkomazi, while allowing residents from the bustling township of Kanyamazane and surrounding areas to safely and conveniently access the N4.

In promoting road safety, Madoda pointed to a collaborative approach with various government departments to quickly mitigate any incidents that may occur. This approach was also highlighted by Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) Acting CEO, Mduduzi Vilakazi, during the launch of the Provincial Tourism Safety campaign.

Vilakazi said the MTPA had collaborated with the Department of Community Safety, Security and Liaison and the South African Police Service (SAPS) to create awareness around the importance of ensuring that tourists are safe during this busy period.

“As one of Mpumalanga’s biggest economic drivers, the tourism sector is deeply intertwined with the state of roads and how we support visitors and residents of this province,” said Vilakazi.

“The MTPA has deployed Tourism Safety Monitors to strategic and high-volume locations around the province. The tourism safety monitors have been sharing vital safety tips and travel guide material with travellers since early December and will continue acting as an added layer of protection for tourists during the festive season.”

Tourism routes and destinations expected to attract a high volume of visitors this festive season include the ever-popular Panorama Route where visitors can marvel at some of Mpumalanga’s most iconic waterfalls during their peak season.

Through the Vala Zonke campaign, SANRAL has significantly reduced the number of potholes in the Graskop region, making for a much smoother driving experience for road users.

Sibusiso Ngwenya, a tour operator regularly taking tourists through the region, said he was happy with the progress so far.

“We no longer have the fear of potholes damaging our vehicles and visitors can enjoy much more pleasant trips,” he said.

The Hazyview area, including the Kruger National Park, are another firm favourite where visitors can try their luck at spotting the Big Five in their natural habitat or opt to engage in the many activities Hazyview offers to both leisure and adventure travellers.

Madoda urged motorists to stay alert at all times and adhere to the rules of the road to minimise road accidents.

SANRAL has shared the following Road Safety tips to road users.

  • Take breaks regularly as a tired driver is as bad as a drunk driver
  • Everyone in a moving vehicle should be wearing a seatbelt
  • Maintain a safe following distance at all times
  • Unexpected failure in a vehicle?
    • Turn on the hazard lights
    • Remain in your vehicle with your seat belt fastened