Zulu maidens killed in crash

2013-09-02 00:00

THE Zulu royal household was distraught last night after hearing that nine young women had been killed in a bus accident after attending the Reed Dance Festival.

The bus, carrying young women on their way home to Port Shepstone, overturned in Eshowe just before 8 pm. The women were from the uMzumbe municipality near Port Shepstone.

It was feared that the death toll could rise last night as emergency services workers pulled critically injured passengers from under the wreckage.

Prince Thulani Zulu, a spokesperson for the Zulu royal family, last night said he was leaving the royal household in Nyokeni and heading for the scene of the accident. Zulu said he and the royal family were devastated by the news of the crash and fatalities, especially as the young women had reached a milestone in their lives by attending the festival.

The uMzumbe municipal manager, Nokuthula Mgijima, said the maidens were in the company of municipal officials and virginity testers from the area.

“I can’t give you any details because the trip organiser was with them in Nyokeni. We are preparing to go to Eshowe and meet with the local mayors, and it is only then that we will be able to understand what happened tonight,” she said.

Transport spokesperson Kwanele Ncalane said the bus was making its way from Enyokeni to Port Shepstone when tragedy struck. Ncalane said the bus was travelling on the R66 in the Ndundulu area near Eshowe when it overturned.

“We can confirm that nine maidens were declared dead on the scene. More were trapped under the wreckage.

“This particular R66 is a stretch of road that has bends and clear road signage, which clearly is there to be adhered to like on any other roads. However, at this stage, we are not placing blame on anyone, but instead are relying on the results of the investigations to bring light on what exactly caused the accident,” said Ncalane.

“MEC Willies Mchunu is saddened that these young people lost their lives after participating in such an auspicious event, where lessons on how to lead a good life are obtained,” said Ncalane.

He said by yesterday the department was already putting together a team of experts to investigate the cause of the accident.

In an interview with eNCA televison news, Eshowe Mayor Basil Zulu said he had been told that the bus had hit a barrier and overturned.

Last week, when talking about security preparations for the event, Ncalane had told The Witness that among the roads that they would be monitoring would be the R36 and the R66.

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