Accidents and emergencies in South Africa

Updated 2022-10-30 12:35

Despite the good condition of the main and secondary roads, the number of road accidents is very high in South Africa. The leading causes are drunk driving and speeding. Even if police controls on the roads are not very frequent, it is strongly recommended to respect the speed limits because speed cameras are numerous and the fines are high, and you could spend the night in a police cell if you're caught drunk driving.


What to do in case of a road accident in South Africa

Accident without bodily injury:

  • Stop immediately and remain at the scene.
  • Make sure your loved ones are safe.
  • Call AA (Automobile Association) if you are a member.
  • Fill out the Motor Accident Report Form that was given to you when you purchased your insurance.
  • Take the details of any witnesses.
  • Take pictures if you can.
  • Contact the police within 24 hours to obtain a Case Number which is essential to be compensated by the insurance company with your driver's license.
  • Contact your insurance company.   

Personal injury accident:

  • Stop immediately and remain at the scene.
  • Make sure your loved ones are safe.
  • Call AA if you are a member.
  • Call 112, which is the national toll-free number from a cell phone, and follow their instructions.
  • When the police arrive at the scene of the accident, write down the officer's number and the number case in case you need a lawyer.
  • Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible.

A traffic accident will be criminally investigated by the South African Police Service (SAPS) in the following cases:

  • when a person has been killed (homicide),
  • when a person has been seriously injured,
  • where a vehicle of a national or provincial government department has been involved in an accident or has caused an accident
  • where it appears that a serious offense has been committed, and/or a written complaint is made by a victim of the motor vehicle accident, an eyewitness, or a community member that an offense has been committed

If the motor vehicle accident is not reported within the specified time period, and the driver does not provide a reasonable justification for the delay, the driver will be issued a written notice to appear in court (J 534) or a notice of violation under the Administrative Adjudication of Traffic Violations Act of 1998 (AARTO) (Act 46 of 1998).

How do you handle an emergency in South Africa?

Crime is a major problem in South Africa, and the rate of theft is very high: burglaries and carjacking. The statistics for crime and theft are among the highest in the world. The reasons are multiple: unemployment, miserable living conditions, strong social disparities, etc. 

If you are just a witness, think first of your safety and get out of danger. Call 10111 or 112 to report the incident.

If you are the victim of a break-in at home, notify the security company (or use the panic button) if you have one (their response is often faster than the police). Call 10111 or 112 and emphasize the emergency to the operator.

Security companies in South Africa:

  • Enforce Security Service
  • Bidvest
  • Beagle Watch Security                   

What to do after an emergency in South Africa?

If you have been injured, wait for an ambulance to come to the scene. The South African public ambulance service is very reliable, and some insurance companies have their own emergency medical numbers.

If you are taken to a private hospital, you will be asked for your insurance to cover the cost; otherwise, you will have to pay for it. If you are taken to a public hospital, you will be admitted without condition.

The Automobile Association (AA) is an association that assists you, in exchange for an annual fee, in case of a breakdown or an accident with your vehicle and also in case of medical assistance. 

Before buying insurance, check the terms and conditions carefully and do not hesitate to compare the contracts offered by different companies. In general, ambulance transport is included in all contracts, but check that emergency medical intervention or paramedical assistance is also included. Towing of the damaged vehicle is included in almost all policies. 

The most reputable car insurance companies in South Africa are: 

  • Salman
  • Momentum
  • Discovery
  • Old Mutual

Other emergency numbers in South Africa

Children's Emergency Line: 0800123321

Violence against women line: People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA) 0116424345

Crime Stop: to report a crime anonymously 0860010111

Automobile Association

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.