Most of the accidents were head-on collisions resulting from high speed and drunk driving, the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) said.
A total of 1 771 people died in road accidents between December 1 last year and January 10 2012.
RTMC spokesperson Ashref Ismail said the agency had hoped to reduce road casualties this year by 25% but negligent driving continued to be a problem.
"Given these figures, all indications are that this target will not be met," he said.
Traffic accidents in South Africa always peak around busy holiday periods like Christmas and Easter, as people head out on vacation.
But despite good infrastructure, the country's roads are among the most dangerous in the world, with some 13 000 people killed every year – more than 35 a day.
Public transport accounts for most of the accidents. – AFP.