During the press conference, Bulwane also gave an update on the state of the provincial roads following the heavy rains recorded recently.
Bulwane says the province experienced heavy downpours and large amounts of small hail, which led to flash flooding of roads, bridges, low-lying areas and settlements. Some of the motorists had difficulty driving due to poor visibility while residents of other towns saw their homes flooded, especially those in low-lying areas.
Bulwane says during the holiday season’s Arrive Alive campaign, the department deployed 348 traffic officers across the province to intensify law enforcement responses and increase visibility.
Activities carried out by the department included 11 major roadblocks, 50 other roadblocks, 12 alcohol projects, 8-speed corridors, 6 truck operations, 12 road safety awareness and 18 transport operations.
The Free State recorded the smallest increase in deaths, at 7.2%, from 111 deaths in the previous period to 119 in this period. Bulwane also added that many roads across the province are closed following recent storms. He advised road users to be careful and use safer alternative options when traveling.
He says the biggest challenge for the department is traffic officers, who spend their time repairing and tending to damaged roads, which could lead to crashes as a result of the damage. This limits them in carrying out their respective responsibilities, which strains the day-to-day operations of the service.
During the briefing, he also expressed his condolences to the families of those who lost their lives over the festive period.