Pre-Xmas death toll on SA’s roads a concern

2010-10-25 07:33

More than 30 people were killed in road accidents across the country this weekend, the ministry of transport said yesterday.

“At least 30 people were killed on South Africa’s roads over the past weekend,” said Logan Maistry, the spokesperson for the department.

“We want to express our condolences to the families and relatives of all those who lost their lives on the roads over the past weekend.”

Transport minister Sibusiso Ndebele – accompanied by senior officials from the City of Johannesburg, the Road Accident Fund (RAF) and the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) – yesterday visited the family of 15-year-old Mpho Nyembe, who was killed in a road accident on Friday.

Nyembe died and eight other pedestrians were injured after being hit by a car driven by a teenager in Alexandra, Johannesburg Emergency Services said on Saturday.

The driver, a 16-year-old Highlands North Boys High School pupil, was believed to have been drunk and driving without a licence, said spokesperson Percy Morokane.

He had taken his parents’ Toyota Camry without their permission.

Injured in Friday’s accident were five pupils, a 35-year-old woman with a toddler strapped to her back, and her 10-year-old son.

The other pupils were all in grade 8 and attended Bhekilanga High School.

The accident occurred about 300m away from the school.

Police spokesman Captain Kym Cloete said the boy was arrested on the scene.

He faces a charge of culpable homicide, drunk driving, and driving without a valid driver’s licence.

He was expected to appear in court today.

The ministry called Nyembe’s death an “unnecessary waste of life”. Through the RAF, the government said it would assist the family with the funeral and mobilising whatever assistance it could, Maistry said.

Ndebele said the law must take its course and the teenager must face the consequences of his actions.

In another accident over the weekend, 19 people were killed and seven others critically injured when a bakkie and taxi collided outside Kokstad, the Kwazulu-Natal department of transport said on Saturday.

“The crash occurred on the P601 at Franklin when the driver of the bakkie allegedly failed to negotiate a bend and collided head-on with the minibus taxi,” the department said.

At least 18 people were declared dead on the scene, while seven people were injured.

They were taken to Usher Memorial Hospital in Kokstad, where one person later died.

Ndebele said as we head towards December, the department is “going all out” to ensure safety on the roads.

“We want to warn road users who commit offences that they will be arrested and detained, and will have enough time during their detention to contemplate their unlawful action,” he said.

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