Bakkie crash kills 7

2009-12-18 00:00

SEVEN people died and nine were seriously injured — one of them critically — in a collision between a bakkie and an articulated truck on the N2 near Mandini Toll Plaza yesterday.

The bakkie, laden with passengers, was travelling from Umhlanga beach toward Ntambanana when the driver lost control. The vehicle rolled several times, ejecting passengers as it spun. It then veered into the path of the truck travelling in the opposite direction.

Netcare911 spokesman Jeffrey Wicks reported that the injured were spread over a kilometre and that the roadway had to be closed completely. One of the critically injured people was airlifted to hospital by the Netcare3 Aero helicopter.

Transport Minister S’busiso Ndebele described the accident as “gruesome” after visiting the scene.

“This is yet again an unnecessary loss of lives. This is the second horrific road crash in just two days in KwaZulu-Natal involving a bakkie.

“Bakkies were never primarily designed for the conveyance of passengers. We have called upon law enforcement officials to intensify enforcement on bakkies carrying passengers.”

In a statement, Ndebele urged public transport operators to ensure their buses and taxis are roadworthy and to “stop putting profit above the lives of innocent commuters”.

According to the National Act regulation 247, no person may be carried in the back of a bakkie and no goods vehicle is to be operated carrying people unless the portion of the vehicle carrying the people is enclosed. “There is going to be intensified law enforcement against bakkie owners and drivers to make sure that they comply with this piece of legislation,” said department spokesperson Zinhle Mngomezulu yesterday.

A total of 448 people — including 126 drivers and 184 passengers — have been killed on South African roads since the beginning of December, the Transport Department said yesterday.

Over the same period last year, 228 people were killed, 80 of them drivers and 112 passengers , according to the department’s statistics.

Spokesman Logan Maistry said: “Road deaths are more than mere statistics... One death on our roads is one death too many.”

 

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