Jacob Zuma's call for a national cleansing ceremony should include cleansing the "roads of death", says the South African National Civic Organisation.
"We are of the opinion that Africans have neglected one key component of dealing with the living dead – the spirit and soul[s] of people dying on our roads," said Sanco spokesperson Dumisani Mthalane in a statement on Friday.
On Friday, SABC radio news reported that President Jacob Zuma wanted to hold a national cleansing ceremony to restore moral values in the country.
He was reported to have said the ritual would be of great importance in the light of incidents such as the Marikana tragedy, the rape of elderly women, and political assassinations.
He said people who were not cleansed, harboured grudges.
Mthalane supported Zuma's call, saying people needed to go back to their roots.
"There are ways – we believe – in African, traditional and cultural ways used by our forefathers to deal with tragic events such as road accidents, unfamiliar patterns of behaviour, etc."
Communicating with the spirits
Mthalane said rituals needed to be performed "by those entrusted with powers to communicate with the spirits to contain bad luck or [the] reoccurrence of tragic events".
He said a ritual of "Ukuvala Umkhokha", whereby bad incidents were prevented from reoccurring, should be carried out.
A national cleansing ceremony would thus be a positive step for the country, said Mthalane.
"The move will help bring some normality, and [the] observance of morals and important African values back to the fore in our nation."
Sanco condemned the number of festive season road deaths and accidents.
"It is sad when lives become mere statistics."
More than 1 000 festive season deaths
A total of 1 068 people died in road accidents across the country between the beginning of the month and Christmas Day, the Road Traffic Management Corporation reported on Thursday.
The corporation spokesperson Ashref Ismail said the death toll was a result of 890 fatal crashes across South Africa from December 1 to December 25.
Last year between the period of December 1 and January 10 2012, 1 771 fatalities were reported. The previous year, 1 551 people died in the same period.
Earlier, this month the Road Traffic Management Corporation said it had hoped to see a 25% reduction in road deaths over the festive season.
On Thursday, Ismail said 18 major fatal accidents had taken place during the festive season thus far.
Major fatal accidents
A major fatal accident is classified as such when either more than five people die, more than five vehicles are involved, a vehicle is carrying a hazardous substance or the accident is deemed high profile for another reason.
A head-on collision was the cause of 11 of the major fatal accidents.
A total of 2 174 people were arrested for driving-related offences, and more than half of the arrests, 1 153 people, were for drunken driving.
Other reasons for arrest included incorrect taxi or public transport permits, reckless and negligent driving, excessive speeding and overcrowding.
Ismail said traffic volumes were expected to increase on main roads during the New Year's weekend.
He warned however that where traffic volumes were low, people often had "a tendency for excessive speeding resulting in single vehicle and high speed crashes". – Sapa