Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi announced on Friday that 235 people died on South African roads over the 2017 Easter holidays.
He said this was a 51% increase over last year's figure of 156.
Maswanganyi announced the preliminary statistics at the GCIS head office in Pretoria.
Maswanganyi asked all in attendance at the briefing to stand up for a moment of silence for those who lost their lives over the period.
Easter saw tens of thousands of South Africans taking to the roads for holiday and religious pilgrimages.
However, the period is usually marked by carnage on the country's roads and a high death toll.