• South Africa’s transport system, particularly in urban areas, tends toward congestion
  • South Africa has some 20 000 km of rail tracks, of which 50% are fully utilised and 35% poorly utilised or not used at all (Wikipedia).
  • Lots of rural areas are in decline because of the decline of rail services, deemed to be non-profitable. (believable hearsay?).
  • Lots of rural areas are struggling to survive because there are no scheduled transport services in their areas.
  • South Africa has 3000 km of coastline and not much of a merchant marine (see here and here)
  • Road transport generally costs from 30% to 50% more than rail transport. Presumably that does not account for the high costs of road maintenance or road degradation from overstressed road transport routes. 
  • SA has about 3000 kms of Toll Roads, 1800 kms operated by Sanral and 1200 kms by private concessions. (SA Info).
  • There is a bitter struggle between civil society and government over government’s plans to toll the Gauteng and other provincial freeway systems, the so-called E-Tolling. 


South Africa’s road transport system is under considerable stress while other transport resources are under-utilised   

In 2011 SA reflected the following road traffic fatalities profile:

Some world comparisons:

    • Deaths per 100 000 of population – 33.2 – position in world 22nd
    • Deaths per 100 000 motor vehicles  – 208.8 – position in world about 60th
    • Total Deaths 13 802 – position data not available

A Stats SA report “Road Traffic Accident Deaths in South Africa, 2001–2006:” reported deaths for those years as follows:

      • 2006     5 664
      • 2005     5 443 
      • 2004     5 234 
      • 2003     4 455 
      • 2002     3 661  
      • 2001     4 433
      • Total   28 890 

It can be seen that the 13 802 deaths in 2011 are more than double those in 2006 and that relationship more or less reflects the trend in the period 2001 to 2006 but the total for 2011 alone is almost half of the total for the five years 2001 to 2006.       

Not very reassuring.

This and the preceding background data seems to reflect poor traffic management as much as poor vehicle road worthiness and poor driving skills.