DA, ANC clash on crash

2013-09-10 00:00

THE Pinetown accident that claimed 22 lives on Thursday, has sparked a row with Transport MEC Willies Mchunu and Legislature deputy speaker Mtholephi Mthimkhulu, who accuse the DA of using the incident to score political points.

This is a response to the DA’s chief whip Radley Keys, who issued a statement on Friday, saying the accident should never have happened.

He further called on Mchunu to ban heavy trucks on the Field’s Hill intersection — where the accident happened — which has been a concern for many years.

“The fact is that ‘heavies’ should have been banned from Field’s Hill a long time ago.

“Not only are they a proven risk to the lives of road users, they are also the cause of extensive damage to the road surface,” he said.

Keys’s comments did not sit well with Mthimkhulu.

He said he was appalled at the DA’s attempt to turn a terrible tragedy into a political football.

“We believe that the DA is being so insensitive and irresponsible simply because the majority of the people who died in this accident were black and it just shows the contempt with which they treat black people,” Mthimkhulu said.

Mthimkhulu said parties should refrain from trying to score cheap political points at the expense of scores of families who are mourning the loss of their loved ones.

“Instead of mourning the deaths of so many people it sees an opportunity to try and score some political points,” he said.

Mchunu yesterday entered the fray when he expressed his “absolute dismay” at the DA statement.

“Even during this difficult time when the province is in mourning the DA, true to its form, could not resist the temptation to use this unfortunate moment for political breast-beating and political point scoring.

“In our humble view, this is a moment that calls upon all responsible citizens of KwaZulu-Natal irrespective of political affiliation to stand together and jointly search for solutions to the current challenge,” he said.

Mchunu also said a task team has been formed to investigate what should be done to deal with road fatalities on the M13.

“We wish to reiterate that punitive measures are a critical aspect of enforcing road regulations,” he said.

Mchunu added that he would table a report to cabinet and the legislature for debate to clarify actions taken by his department.

Mchunu’s statement did not stop Keys from calling for a special meeting of the transport portfolio committee at which Mchunu should deliver a report on the accident.

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