Family wiped out in another Roadlink crash

2008-12-16 00:00

ELEVEN people, including six members of a family travelling in a Toyota Camry, were killed in an accident involving an SA Roadlink bus on the N2 near Hibberdene on the south coast in the early hours of yesterday morning.

This is the second road incident involving an SA Roadlink bus in the province in a space of just four days.

The latest accident claimed the lives of African Gospel Church Pastor Jeremiah Buthelezi, his wife Mantsele, their three adult sons and their 13-year-old grandson.

Five bus passengers, including a five-year-old boy, were also killed. Nine people were pronounced dead at the scene, while two others died in hospital.

The Buthelezis, from Empangeni, were travelling in their Toyota Camry to a church meeting in Cedarville near Matatiele.

Their vehicle was reduced to a wreck, while the Roadlink bus had its front left side shattered.

The Camry was flung on to the Hibberdene on-ramp 20 metres below the N2, while the bus came to a standstill on its side on the embankment.

Transport Department spokeswoman Nonkululeko Mbatha said the bus driver was trying to overtake a truck, but hit the rear end of the truck and lost control, ending up in the south-bound lane.

“There are three people who are still in hospital, with one of them in the ICU. Others have been discharged,” said Mbatha.

She said the bus driver was treated for minor injuries at the scene of the accident. Police have yet to lay charges.

Police spokeswoman Superintendent Zandra Wiid told The Witness yesterday afternoon that police are not ready to release the names and ages of the deceased who were in the bus.

SA Roadlink spokesman Herman Steyn said the company will investigate the accident. “We cannot say what caused the accident at the moment, especially because more than one vehicle was involved.”

He admitted that the accident was one of many involving SA Roadlink. “We … will treat it separately. We look at each and every accident separately.”

Steyn promised that SA Roadlink will ensure that there are no more accidents involving their buses during the festive season.

SA Roadlink has been at the centre of controversy following several accidents over some years. Last Thursday, 75 people were injured in a crash involving one of their buses on the N3 in the midlands.

On June 2 at least 43 people were injured when an SA Roadlink bus overturned on the N3 while travelling from Johannesburg to Durban.

Mbatha said Transport MEC Bheki Cele, who rushed to the scene yesterday, is considering action against the company.

“The MEC will elaborate on the matter during a press conference in Durban [today],” said Mbatha.

Last Friday Cele issued a warning to long-distance bus drivers, saying traffic officials will be clamping down on their reckless driving.

Zululand District Mayor Zanele Magwaza-Msibi sent condolences to the Buthelezi family and other victims, and called on motorists to exercise caution during the festive season.

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