Road accidents claim 16 lives

2011-08-08 00:00

TRANSPORT Minister Sibusiso Ndebele said public transport operators will be monitored after the death toll on the country’s roads topped 16 this weekend.

The death toll included 10 fatalities after a bus and minibus collided on the R617 between Franklin and Swartberg in southern KwaZulu-Natal early on Saturday morning.

Department of Transport spokesperson Kwanele Ncalane said, “According to preliminary investigation results, the taxi driver was trying to make a U-turn when it was sideswiped by the bus en route from Johannesburg to Lusikisiki,”

Both vehicles went down an embankment and landed in a river.

“The water was full of blood and motor oil,” said a police spokesperson..

“There was even a pair of children’s shoes floating in the water.”

Nine people died on the scene, including a three-year-old boy. Another passenger was confirmed dead in hospital.

The collision left 49 people injured, seven of them seriously.

They were taken to Usher Memorial Hospital in Kokstad and Edendale Hospital in Pietermaritzburg.

The MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Willies Mchunu, visited the survivors of the accident yesterday afternoon.

An accident near Golden Gate in the eastern Free State claimed the lives of six people when a minibus overturned on a mountain slope on Saturday.

And in Pietermaritzburg last night, seven people were injured when a bakkie rolled down a steep embankment.

The bakkie was reportedly travelling along Edendale Road when the driver lost control and plunged down a steep embankment.

Netcare 911 paramedics and the fire department arrived at the scene and had to clamber down with their equipment to treat the patients.

Three people sustained serious injuries while four others escaped with minor injuries.

Medics had to use specialised equipment to hoist the patients up to the roadway before they were taken to hospital.

Ndebele’s spokesperson, Logan Maistry, said that more than 10 million vehicles and drivers have been checked and 4,5 million fines issued since October.

Seventeen thousand drunk drivers have been arrested and 43 000 unroadworthy vehicles, mostly buses and taxis, have been pulled off the road.

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