The government of South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Province has made an urgent plea blood donations during the upcoming year-end festive season when requirements rise as a result of carnage on the roads.

The call came from the KZN Member of the Executive Council (MEC) for Health, Dr S’bongiseni Dhlomo, who said that road carnage had already claimed many lives as the holidays approached.

Dlomo said there was a dire need for blood during this period.

“We would like to appeal to South Africans, that even before you settle down on this festive season, even if you are travelling to the mall, look out for those places where we collect blood donations,” he said.

“For those who are between the ages of 16 and 65 and healthy, we urge them to give a pint of blood. It goes a long way. It gives life to someone ….. especially those who could actually be caught in accidents, to have a pint of blood. Those who are on treatment for cancer, they do also need blood. Women who are giving birth sometimes need blood”

The South African National Blood Service (SANBS) says it needs to collect an average of 3,000 units of blood every single day of the year. Spokesperson Sifiso Khoza said the SANBS had done its best to save lives with its limited resources.

Meanwhile, at Graaf Reinet in Eastern Cape Province, the provincial MEC for Road and Transport, Weziwe Tikana, expressed concern about the current number of road fatalities in the province ahead of the festive season.

Tikana and her counterpart from Western Cape province, Donald Grant, embarked on a road safety campaign in Graaff Reinet to educate the public about road safety on Thursday. They conducted a road block on the N9 highway and embarked on a door-to-door educational campaign.

Eastern Cape has so far recorded 42 road fatalities since the start of December. In 2015, the provincial statistics saw road fatalities increase from 227 to 278 compared with the previous year with youth remaining the biggest culprits in causing accidents which result in road fatalities.

The Western Cape also experienced an increase of 33 per cent from 122 road fatalities in 2014 to 162 last year.