The metro police and emergency management services reported only a few incidents over the two long weekends. Motorists still returning to town are urged to take care.
RESIDENTS are returning to the city from the unusually long Easter holidays, with the police and emergency management services reporting only a few fatalities over the past 11 days.
Metro Police spokesperson Wayne MinnaarMetro Police spokesperson Wayne MinnaarMany people took extended holidays this year, with Easter quickly followed by two public holidays. Good Friday, on 22 April, marked the start of the holidays, and the Workers’ Day holiday on 1 May fell on a Sunday this year. This meant Monday, 2 May was also a public holiday.
According to Wayne Minnaar, the spokesperson for the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD), 86 drunken drivers were arrested at various road blocks on 21 April. The following day, 112 drunken drivers were arrested at various road blocks and on 23 April, 14 drivers were caught doing speeds of more than 160km/h. The highest speedster was clocked at 201km/h.
He also asked people returning to Joburg to drive cautiously because of traffic volumes, specifically mentioning those using the N1 from Limpopo and Free State, the N3 from KwaZulu-Natal and the N4 from Mpumalanga.
Johannesburg’s emergency management services (EMS) was also on high alert over the holidays, given the many road users, cold and wet weather, veld fires, open flames and paraffin stoves and heaters.
According to the EMS, there were only a few incidents to report in Joburg between 22 April and 2 May, including a house burning down in Lenasia; revellers stranded on the big wheel ride at Lusitoland because of a power outage; one drowning; and two road accidents, resulting in the loss of three lives.
Percy Morokane, the EMS spokesperson, said pedestrian and road safety were the focus points over the Easter period. The service tested and rolled out its enhanced communications system, meant to improve the turnaround time of vehicles responding to service calls by tracking vehicle mobility.
Just before the Easter weekend, a woman in her mid-twenties was killed in a car crash. Six of the occupants in the two vehicles that collided were seriously injured. The accident happened on 21 April on Grasmere Road, near Weilers’ Farm, south of the CBD.
People should take care when using mbawulasPeople should take care when using mbawulasThe South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) also issued a plea before the holidays to motorists to be courteous and cautious.
For those holidaymakers still returning home, Sanral warned that there was road construction in some areas and that motorists should be extra careful for their own safety and that of the construction workers.
Morokane also had some advice for winter, which arrived a bit early this year. “It is common knowledge that in informal and formal settlements, especially during this time of the year, certain people cannot resist the temptation to use braziers and heaters for a variety of reasons other than warming themselves and/or keeping their homes warm.
“The worst thing one should avoid at all costs when using the aforementioned, is to dry clothing,” he said. “This might lead to untold misery which unfortunately might lead to loss of life and property. Braziers, also known as mbawulas, emit potentially toxic fumes. Care should be taken to ventilate the room in which this equipment is kept.”
Nonetheless, he encouraged people to keep themselves and their children warm during winter to avoid hypothermia, which is when the body temperature drops below 35 degrees and which can result in death.
It was more likely among elderly and homeless people, said Morokane. Hypothermia is treated by preserving body heat and preventing further heat loss.
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