Horror crash: Drivers to be charged
Cape Town - Serious charges are expected to be brought against two drivers in an accident that claimed 20 lives in the Western Cape on Tuesday morning.
"We expect that very serious charges - murder or culpable homicide - will be brought against the two surviving drivers," Transport MEC Robin Carlisle said.
The accident happened on the N1 between Leeu-Gamka and Prince Albert Road at about 02:00. Two taxis heading in the direction of Cape Town crashed into the side of a truck.
Western Cape police spokesperson Malcolm Pojie said the minibus overturned when it was rammed from behind by another minibus.
"It appeared all the people who died were occupants of the minibus taxis."
All of them, 12 women, six men, a boy and a girl, were declared dead at the scene. The driver of the truck and the driver of the second taxi survived the crash.
Carlisle said the accident happened in a 80km/h zone. The driver of the first taxi to crash into the truck had not been identified, but was assumed to have been among the dead.
"Provincial health services have confirmed that there were 20 dead, 17 injured and seven unharmed," Carlisle said.
The injured were being treated at hospitals in Beaufort West, George and Tygerburg.
Carlisle said post mortems would be carried out in Oudtshoorn from Wednesday.
No mercy to rule breakers
He planned to introduce average-speed-over-distance cameras over the Laingsburg to Prince Albert section of the N1 "as quickly as we can".
"We will intensify our focus on the causes and prevention of major accidents. I am particularly concerned about fully loaded taxis travelling, often with packed trailers, at 100km/h."
Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele sent his condolences to the families and wished the injured a speedy recovery.
He said officials of the Road Accident Fund were providing assistance to the families.
An independent team of reconstruction specialists were sent to assist in the investigation, Ndebele's spokesperson Logan Maistry said in a statement.
"We are repeating our calls for all public transport operators to ensure that no long-distance trip is undertaken without a relief driver, particularly as we head towards the December holidays."
He said no mercy would be shown to those who disregard road rules.