–South African Transport Minister Dipuo Peters and the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) have urged all motorists to heed traffic rules after more than 30 people died on the roads during the long weekend.

Peters said Monday that the RMTC was investigating the five horrific crashes which left more than 30 people dead and many injured.

Nine people died in a horrific collision on the N1 highway near Nylplaza in Limpopo Province on Sunday evening when a minibus collided with an overturned truck trailer. Six injured people were taken to Mokopane Hospital for treatment.

On Friday, four people died when a kombi (van used to carry passengers) they were travelling in overturned in Blykraal, Modimolle and 11 people who were injured were taken to Modimolle Hospital.

RMTC Spokesman Simon Zwane noted that 15 people died in Gauteng Province in a collision in Randfontein and five people died in George in Western Cape Province when a sports utility vehicle collided with a sedan on Airport Road, and a multiple collision claimed one life in Eastern Cape Province on the N2 between East London and Mooiplaas.

Zwane said 232 people were arrested for drunk driving in Johannesburg over the long weekend and were expected to appear in court soon.

Peters said it was critical for all drivers to ensure they exercised “responsible conduct” on the roads to prevent similar accidents and she extended her condolences to all the families who lost loved ones during the long weekend and wished those injured a speedy recovery.

Zwane said the RTMC would “hand over reports from its investigation to prosecuting authorities to ensure those responsible are held accountable for their behaviour”.

Meanwhile, the University of the Witwatersrand here flew flags at half-mast after seven of its students died in the Limpopo accident. The students were travelling back to Johannesburg from a church summit in Limpopo.

Wits University’s Dean of Students, Puleng Lenkabula, said the university was still in shock. “We are really saddened by the tragic loss of lives of young people some of them were training in medicine, some of them in education, some of them in engineering so it is a big loss to a country that is requiring skills.”

Vice Chancellor Professor Adam Habib travelled to Limpopo to spend time with the bereaved families. “It’s a really tragic moment for the university and for the student’s families. We have sent out a communication to all students and staff. All our flags at Wits are at half-mast as of Monday and Tuesday, and the rest of the week,” he said.

“I have got a team already in Mokopane so that we are there engaging the families and we are also talking about the post-mortems that have to be done. So, we are speaking to local authorities in Limpopo to ensure that we do that as quickly as possible to assist the families who are grieving at this sad time.”