South Africans are largely heeding the call to stay home during the national lockdown, says vehicle locating firm Tracker.
South Africa entered a national lockdown on March 27 in an attempt to fight the spread of Covid-19.
“One way to verify whether South Africans are indeed confining themselves to their place of residence is by examining vehicle movement before and during the lockdown as an indication of the activity on our roads,” says Tracker.
Insights garnered from using the company’s vehicle tracking data, as well as analytics from Lightstone, indicate that most South Africans are doing their bit to flatten the curve.
Nationally, South African vehicle activity had already dropped by up to 20% before the lockdown, relative to the corresponding day in early March.
Vehicle activity has subsequently plummeted by 75% since the implementation of the lockdown.
The significant decline in vehicle movement during the first three days of confinement followed a slight increase in passenger vehicle activity in the two days prior.
This increase in vehicle movement is likely owing to citizens shopping in preparation for being confined to their homes, with many having been paid on March 25, as observed by the reports of lengthy queues and sold-out stock at stores in the days before lockdown.
Provincially, Gauteng and the Western Cape demonstrate the highest compliance for staying off the roads, with passenger vehicle activity reducing between 75% and 80% during the first two days of lockdown.
The highest compliance from taxis and buses has been observed in KwaZulu-Natal, with a 76% reduction in vehicle movement, while the highest reduction in the movement of commercial vehicles is observed in Gauteng, at 73%.
Drilling down to a town level in the two most compliant provinces, the middle class to wealthy suburbs of Sandton, in Gauteng, and Durbanville, Franschhoek and Noordhoek, in the Western Cape, show a greater than 90% reduction in vehicle movement.
Conversely, the lowest stay-at-home compliance has been observed in Khayelitsha and Guguletu, in the Western Cape, with a reduction in vehicle activity of less than 50%.
Towns like Blue Downs, in the Western Cape, and Soweto and Katlehong, in Gauteng, have also only reduced their vehicle activity by between 60% and 70%.
“It is great to see that the majority of South African citizens are observing the request to stay at home with high-density areas such as Gauteng and the Western Cape reducing their vehicle movement by between 75% and 80% since the implementation of the lockdown,” says Tracker South Africa product and marketing executive Michael du Preez.
“As cabin fever starts to set in, we encourage you to continue to restrict your movements. Only go out when necessary for your safety and the safety of your fellow citizens.
“It is important to note that not all areas will be able to curtail movement to exactly the same extent,” adds Lightstone head of data Linda Reid.
“Some areas are more likely to have, as their residents, greater numbers of people who are still travelling as essential services workers.”