Questions over Knysna bus roadworthiness
Cape Town - The bus, in which 14 children were killed in an accident outside Knysna last week, was found to have insufficient brake force and a loose steering mechanism 10 days prior to the crash, but was subsequently passed later the same day.
"We can confirm that the vehicle was put through a roadworthy test at TJ's on 14 April 2011, from 10:20 to 10:40 in the morning," Western Cape Transport MEC Robin Carlisle said in a statement on Monday.
"The roadworthiness test sheet says that the bus in question, CAW 37415, failed this test due to insufficient brake force and a loose steering mechanism."
Carlisle said the bus returned to the rest station at noon on the same day and was re-tested.
"This test took 11 minutes. The bus passed this test and its roadworthy status was updated on the eNatis system," Carlisle said.
"The examiner at both tests was Eugene Labuschagne, the owner of TJ's Vehicle Testing Station."
Carlisle said their manager for roads and traffic administration, Melvin Arendse, requested all the information pertaining to the roadworthiness of the bus on Wednesday, the day of the crash.
He said his department had been consulting with a former employee of a motor company, Tata, about the braking system used in the bus.
"As soon as we have been able to deduce whether it was possible that the braking and steering systems could have been repaired in one hour and 20 minutes, we will make an announcement," he said.
The bus plunged off a low bridge into the swollen Kassat se Drift River near Knysna, killing 14 schoolchildren and their driver.