KZN executive thanks crash-response teams

2013-09-12 13:58

The KwaZulu-Natal executive has thanked the teams that responded to two recent accidents in which 32 people died in the province.

Acting Premier Senzo Mchunu today commended the teams, including police, forensic and fire services, and private paramedics, for their professional work under distressing circumstances.

Last Thursday, 22 people died when an articulated truck’s brakes failed on Field’s Hill in Pinetown.

On September 1, 10 people died when a bus transporting them from the annual reed-dance ceremony went over an embankment and overturned on the R66 near Nkwalini, between Melmoth and Eshowe.

Seven girls who participated in the dance, which was held at Enyokeni Royal Palace, at KwaNongoma, two women who accompanied them as guardians and the bus driver died.

Mchunu conveyed the KwaZulu-Natal executive’s condolences to Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, as host of the ceremony, and the bereaved families.

The executive rejected alleged attempts at political point scoring in the wake of the accidents.

“We caution against political grandstanding of any nature during this difficult time for the families,” he said.

“It is, in fact, foreign in our culture that even before the deceased have been laid to rest, some would seek to make political capital out of this very unfortunate incident.”

The executive was awaiting a full report on the accidents from transport MEC Willies Mchunu.

“That report will be presented to Cabinet and interrogated thoroughly before it is tabled in the legislature for all parties to give inputs. For now, let us pay respect to the departed,” said the acting premier.

“Out of respect for the departed, we will only delve into the circumstances around the accidents after the funerals.”

A memorial service for those who died in the Field’s Hill crash was planned for this morning, and a mass funeral for 13 of the dead was planned for Saturday morning.

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