Shock, anger over Moloto Road crash

2013-11-12 14:09
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Mpumalanga bus crash pictures

A bus collision in Mpumalanga late on Monday killed 29 people and severely injured eight others, on Moloto Road, notorious for deadly accidents. See pictures from the scene.

Johannesburg - Political parties expressed shock on Tuesday about the deaths of 29 people in a bus accident on the Moloto road near Kwaggafontein, Mpumalanga.

Mpumalanga community safety MEC Vusi Shongwe said the accident should be treated as a disaster.

"We are grieving as a province with the loss of innocent lives," he said.

Twenty-nine people were killed when a truck collided with a bus along the Moloto Road near Kwaggafontein on Monday night.

Eight people were critically injured while 20 were slightly injured and taken to KwaMhlanga and Dennilton hospitals.

It is believed that most of those who died in the accident were from Matshiding village near Siyabuswa, in the Dr JS Moroka municipality.

Shongwe visited the crash scene on Tuesday morning. Spokesperson Joseph Mabuza said the department would meet with the families of the deceased to determine how they could be helped.

Reaction

The DA in Mpumalanga said something needed to be done about the Moloto Road. Moloto is a town along the road, the R573, about 60km north-east of Pretoria.

"It is absolutely critical in this regard that government makes a concerted effort to implement the Moloto rail corridor project to alleviate the pressure on this road," said provincial chairperson James Masango.

He said the project, approved in 2008, was still on hold.

The ANC Youth League called on the SA Bus Operators' Association (Saboa) and the Road Freight Association (RFA) to ensure all trucks and busses were kept in a roadworthy state.

"As the ANC Youth League we feel that it is our constituency that is affected most by these breadwinner-taking accidents that are now happening almost twice every month, mostly because of trucks and busses," said spokesman Bandile Masuku.

The league would seek to meet Saboa and the RFA to call for roadworthy fleets and well-trained drivers.

Condolences

"The ANC sends its heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the deceased," said Jackson Mthembu, spokesperson for the African National Congress, which said it was saddened by the deaths.

"It is our hope that the support of the nation during this difficult time will make their burden of grief just that little lighter to bear."

The ANC called on all road users to be careful on the roads.

"We support the call by the department of transport for united action to make our roads safe and we hope all South Africans will commit themselves to this important cause," said Mthembu.

The African Christian Democratic Party said the investigation into the accident should determine whether the bus was overloaded.

"Our hearts go out to the families of victims.... We also pray for a speedy recovery to those passengers who are severely injured in hospital," said spokesperson Cheryllyn Dudley.

"We call on traffic authorities to launch an investigation into the cause of this tragic accident, and to determine whether there was a possibility that the bus was overloaded or unroadworthy."

She said about 50 000 people commuted to work in Pretoria daily along the narrow and potholed Moloto road, the R573, in 635 buses.

High-level investigation

Earlier, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters ordered a high-level investigation into the accident.

"The investigation team consists of the Road Traffic Management Corporation and traffic authorities in Mpumalanga," spokesperson Tiyani Rikhotso said.

Bus company Putco confirmed on Tuesday morning that the bus involved belonged to it. Company spokesperson Romeo More said the bus driver was among those killed.

Images of the bus screened by eNCA showed the vehicle had been ripped open along one side.

"Putco's managing director, Franco Pisapia, expressed his shock at the horrific accident," he said.

More said the company had sent officials to visit the injured and help where possible.

"A full investigation is underway to determine the exact cause of the accident and Putco will co-operate fully with authorities in this regard."

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  acdp  |  vusi shongwe  |  mbombela  |  transport  |  accidents

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