Transport minister orders investigation into Moloto crash

2013-11-12 11:18

Transport Minister Dipuo Peters has ordered a high-level investigation into a bus accident that killed 29 people.

“The investigation team consists of the Road Traffic Management Corporation and traffic authorities in Mpumalanga,” the department of transport’s spokesperson Tiyani Rikhotso said.

29 people were killed when a bus collided with a truck on Moloto Road near Kwaggafontein, Mpumalanga, last night.

He said the team would investigate the cause of the accident and recommend interventions to prevent a repeat of such an accident.

The department would also go ahead with plans to expand the Moloto Road and reduce the number of trucks on the road.

“We are looking into moving the transportation of heavy goods from road to rail to reduce the number of trucks on the road networks,” said Rikhotso.

He said Peters sent her condolences to the bereaved families and wished the injured a speedy recovery.

The Mpumalanga safety department said 26 people were killed on the scene and three were dead on arrival at KwaMhlanga Hospital. Eight people were critically injured.

Department spokesperson Joseph Mabuza said the accident happened when a truck collided with a stationary bus.

“The truck driver did not see the bus until it was too late. The truck driver swerved to the right to try and avoid the bus,” he said.

Bus company, Putco, confirmed this morning that the bus involved belonged to them.

Spokesperson Romeo More also confirmed that the bus driver was among those killed.

“Putco’s managing director, Franco Pisapia, expressed his shock at the horrific accident,” he said.

More said the company had sent officials to visit the injured and help where possible.

“A full investigation is under way to determine the exact cause of the accident and Putco will cooperate fully with authorities in this regard.”

Acting government spokesperson Phumla Williams said government was deeply saddened and also sent deepest condolences to the families involved.

“Government is saddened by the unfortunate loss of lives in this tragic incident. Our thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved families. We wish all the injured a speedy recovery,” she said.

“Courtesy, patience and abiding by the rules of the road will play a significant role in reducing road accidents,” she said.

President Jacob Zuma also expressed shock at the accident.

“This carnage must stop. It is completely unacceptable. The fact that this particular road has gained notoriety... means there’s something wrong that we need to address together,” Zuma said in a statement.

“We also urge the law enforcement authorities to swiftly get to the bottom of the cause of this tragedy and the law must be firm on those found to have flouted any rules and regulations of the road, leading to such high fatalities.”

He wished the injured a speedy recovery.

“On behalf of government and all South Africans, we send our heartfelt condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in this accident. May their souls rest in peace,” he said.

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