Probe into road carnage

2012-03-13 00:00

A CRACK team of accident investigators and reconstruction specialists has been dispatched to investigate four accidents that claimed 36 lives over the past five days.

Two of the accidents occurred in KwaZulu-Natal.

In the latest accident, a lift club trip to work turned into a tragedy when 11 people were killed in a head-on collision between a Toyota Venture bakkie and a truck on the R56 between Ibisi and Umzimkhulu yesterday morning.

Two people were seriously injured.

Logan Maistry, spokesperson for Transport Minister Sbusiso Ndebele, said Road Traffic Management Corporation had dispatched accident investigation specialists.

“Officials from the Road Accident Fund [RAF] are providing assistance to the affected families,” Maistry said.

Thembinkosi Sosibo lost his sister-in-law, Nonzakaliso Prudence Sosibo (41), in the accident.

“The accident was gruesome. The family will be seriously affected by her death as she was the only breadwinner,” Sosibo said.

Sosibo, who was a manager at a local fashion shop, is survived by her husband and two children.

The names of the other victims were not available at the time of going to print.

They were from villages in the Umzimkhulu area.

Among them were employees at the Umzimkhulu and Sisonke municipalities and two young schoolchildren.

Eyewitnesses said the truck swerved and hit the Venture, dragging it for about 150 metres.

Jaws of life were used to separate the two vehicles and to free the passengers.

Umzimkhulu Mayor Mphuthumi Mpabanga called for urgency in a project to widen the notoriously dangerous road.

In another accident in KZN, six people were killed in a thee-way pile-up near Albert Falls Dam.

Kwanele Ncalane, spokesperson for KZN Transport MEC Willies Mchunu, said the MEC will meet families of the victims later today. Mchunu urged drivers to abide by the rules of the road and to drive cautiously, especially in the rain.

Seven people died on Saturday evening when a car slammed into a group of pedestrians in Tshaulu near Thohoyandou, Limpopo, while 12 people were killed on Thursday in a head-on collision near Queenstown in the Eastern Cape.

Maistry said more than 250 000 vehicles were stopped and checked and several motorists arrested across the country in the last week.

“During January 8 507 motorists were arrested … including 1 762 for drinking and driving, 84 for reckless and/or negligent driving and 215 for excessive speed,” he said


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