News24

Relieve drivers on trips, minister urges

2011-11-07 19:54

Johannesburg - Fatigue may have been the cause of an accident in which 10 members of the Zion Christian Church (ZCC) were killed, Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele said on Monday.

"We are repeating our calls for all public transport operators to ensure that no long-distance trip is undertaken without a relief driver," he said in a statement.

Ten ZCC members were killed and 45 injured on Sunday night when a bus overturned on the N1 highway in the Polokwane area.

Limpopo transport spokespersonThesan Moodley said the bus driver lost control of the vehicle and it hit a barrier and overturned.

Eight passengers died on the scene and two more died in hospital.

Moodley said the worshippers were returning to KwaZulu-Natal after attending a church service in Zimbabwe at the weekend.

Thousands of pilgrims descended on Bulawayo at the weekend for the opening of a church.

Ndebele said drivers of public transport vehicles, especially buses and taxis, could not be expected to drive hundreds of kilometres for several hours without a relief driver on board.

"Public transport employers have a duty to ensure the safety of their workers and customers," he said.

"We want to convey condolences to the families of those killed in the bus crash in Limpopo yesterday [Sunday], and wish those injured a speedy recovery."

He said officials from the Road Accident Fund (RAF) were providing assistance to the affected families.