At least five people have died this Easter weekend on Cape Town roads including a well-known pastry chef and confectionist who was killed during an apparent drag race.
Melyssa La Vita, 30, was the owner of her cake and confectionery business called “The Cake Fairy by Melyssa” and was based in Strandfontein.
City of Cape Town traffic officials confirmed that there were at least 13 motor vehicle crashes and two involving pedestrian which left five dead between Good Friday and yesterday.
La Vita, who had worked as a pastry chef at affluent businesses such as the Table Bay hotel, was known for her confectionery creations by clients as far as Franschhoek and Stellenbosch.
On Friday, La Vita had unknowingly baked her last cake, a unicorn-designed cake for a six-year-old girl.
Her father, Anthony La Vita told Weekend Argus that his daughter joined friends from their car club called “Anointed Nation” and congregated at Sacks Circle in Bellville South late on Friday evening.
He said information surrounding the fatal incident was still sketchy and that their family was yet to receive full details from police.
He added his daughter had been standing at Sacks Circle and had tried to out of the way when she was hit by a vehicle when she was killed.
“We do not know the exact extent of all the details,” he said.
“We understand it took place around 11.30pm Friday, or even after 12am on Saturday, the time is unclear and to be confirmed.
“She had tried to avoid the car, (but) both her and the driver had moved in the same direction. She was the pedestrian and she wanted to move away from the vehicle and the car also wanted to avoid her but they went in the same direction.”
The father said they were unable to confirm claims that motorists had been racing on the stretch of road and added his daughter was part of a car club.
“She was part of a car club called, “Anointed Nation,” and they would usually have ’park-offs’.”
A park-off is where car clubs or car fanatics gather.
“We don’t want to speculate about anything and we have yet to speak to the people who were at the scene.”
He said his family had previously suffered similar trauma. His mother was killed during a hit-and-run seven years ago in Mitchells Plain and his sister in 1978.
“I lost my mother, Lillian La Vita, when she was hit by a police van in front of Mitchells Plain Police Station and it was also in April, on April 29.
“My late sister, Veronica, was also a pedestrian killed in 1978 in Crawford, and it’s all de ja vu for me.”
Police spokesperson Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana said: “A culpable homicide case has been opened for investigation after an incident that occurred April 3, 2021, at 12.30am in Sacks Circle Bellville South. On the scene, SAPS members found a female age 30 deceased on the ground in the road. She had sustained head and leg injuries.
“A 21-year-old suspect was arrested and will appear in court once charged.”
City traffic spokesperson Maxine Bezuidenhout said they were aware of the incident but were awaiting full details.
“It has been relatively quiet since the start of the Easter weekend and during the last 24 hours (Friday to Saturday morning), there have been 13 motor vehicle accidents. On Friday night, two pedestrians were fatally wounded on the N2 outbound, just before the R300 and Mew Way. “It was two males in their early thirties.”
Two people died during a motor vehicle crash yesterday along the N1 incoming at Brackenfell Boulevard. One person was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol.
Traffic volumes on provincial roads are expected to surge again from this afternoon as the Easter weekend draws to a close tomorrow.
Thousands of cars took to the roads from Thursday as many people headed to the Eastern Cape and other provinces for the weekend.
Officials expressed concern over the high traffic volume during curfew hours.
Spokesperson for the provincial department of transport Jandre Bekker said traffic officials expected the roads to be busy again as motorists headed back home from this afternoon, and picking up again from Monday morning.
Bekker said the roads with high volumes of traffic recorded from the start of the Easter weekend included the N7 and R27 on the West Coast, the N1 and N2, mainly used by long-distance minibus taxis and buses to carry people between Cape Town and Eastern Cape, Free State and Gauteng as well as provincial coastal holiday destinations.
From Friday to Saturday morning, 23 412 cars drove through the Huguenot Toll Plaza, averaging between 1 700 and 1900 vehicles per hour.
Bekker said data recorded about 196 372 vehicles between Thursday, and 11am yesterday.
He expressed concern about motorists driving during curfew hours (12 midnight and 4am) as set by the national lockdown regulations.
“Between Friday and Saturday, 16 476 vehicles were found to have travelled during curfew hours. We remind road users that the curfew is still in place,” Bekker said.
“No mercy will be shown to those who transgress the speed limits and they might be arrested,” Bekker added.
He said technology was now able to help trace speedsters.
“If you speed in Bot River, you can be stopped and pulled over in Beaufort West, thanks to technology”.
Bekker urged motorists to be extra vigilant as congestion on the roads was expected from today.
Warren Cupido, the national operational manager for South African Paramedics, said they had a quiet start to the weekend due to the restrictions. “But with the restrictions on alcohol, it has been quieter with fewer incidents even at bars and pubs and shebeens.”
Police were also called to a scene in Crossroads on Thursday where two people were murdered and one wounded.
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