Pupils injured in bakkie accident 3 days before related law comes into effect

2017-05-08 20:37
A file image of pupils being transported on a bakkie. (Supplied)

A file image of pupils being transported on a bakkie. (Supplied)

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Durban – Five pupils, aged between six and 15, were seriously injured when a bakkie transporting them to school collided with a bus on the R22 near the Mbazwana shopping centre, north of KZN on Monday, provincial police said.

The driver of the bakkie was also injured during the crash that occurred at about 07:45. He and the injured pupils were taken to hospital for medical attention, said Lieutenant-Colonel Thulani Zwane.
 
KZN emergency medical services said, in a statement, that the other children who were transported on the bus were not injured during the accident.

The accident happened just three days before the amended law prohibiting anyone from carrying pupils, and other persons, on the back of bakkies and trucks for profit comes into effect.

The law amended by the national Department of Transport comes into effect on May 11.
 
KZN Transport spokesperson Nathi Sukazi reiterated to News24 that the amended law states that the transportation of school children or any person on the goods compartment of a vehicle to make money is not allowed.

Those caught still transporting people at the goods compartments of their bakkies will be arrested.

Sukazi said the law amendment was the department's initiative after they saw the high rate of road deaths involving bakkies, especially in the rural areas.
The amendment was made by the national department of transport "which means it applies across the country, not just KZN".

"This law will assist us in making sure that our kids are safe to and from school," said Sukazi.

‘Collective responsibility’

He said in rural areas where pupils walk for more than three kilometres to school, parents should ensure that their children use roadworthy transport.

"Road safety is a collective responsibility. Each member of the public should make sure that they use safe transport," said Sukazi.

In the meantime, the provincial government has identified about 3000 areas that need urgent attention with regards to school transport.

"Providing transport to those areas where pupils walk for three kilometres to school has been prioritised. We want to make sure that those pupils are assisted," he said.

In assisting the bakkie operators to stay in business, provincial government has tasked the department of Transport and that of Economic Development to assist the operators to upgrade from the bakkies to proper minibus taxis, he said.

Zwane said police are investigating a case of reckless and negligent driving.

Read more on:    durban  |  accidents  |  transport

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