Alberton pile-up no accident - MEC

2014-10-15 12:01

Johannesburg - The deadly multi-vehicle pile-up that occurred on the N12 East near Alberton should not be described as an accident, Gauteng transport MEC Ismail Vadi said on Wednesday.

Vadi said labelling it as an accident was simply a euphemism.

"This is not an accident, it's a crash," he said.

Four people were killed when a truck smashed into almost 50 cars in early morning traffic.

At least 16 others were injured.

Describing the crash scene, Vadi said it looked like a bomb had exploded, overturning some cars.

He was speaking at the Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital in Johannesburg where three of the injured were being treated.

Two of them were critical while another was in a serious condition.

Trauma specialist Lizel Taylor who was on duty when the crash happened on Tuesday, said they expected a lengthy hospital stay for the injured people.

"Anything could happen from now," she said.

Three operations

One of the injured people was on a ventilator after sustaining injuries to the chest, heart, and lungs.

Another patient was admitted with heavy bleeding on the head and suffered internal bleeding to the liver and chest.

He had undergone three operations since being admitted shortly after the crash.

The third patient suffered fractures to the arm. He was to undergo brain scans but was alert.

Vadi said exposing the victims to the media would put undue pressure on them.

"Two of them are heavily sedated. They are not in a condition to be seen by the public," said Vadi, adding that they were in a state of shock.

The crash coincided with "transport month".

Vadi said it had "put a damper on the campaign and weakened the spirit".

The truck driver, who has since been arrested for the collision, claimed his brakes failed.

Vadi echoed the sentiments of Transport Minister Dipuo Peters who called for the truck's owners to also be brought to book if this was found to be true.

"In my personal opinion, there should be dual accountability," Vadi said.

This was perhaps one of the worst accidents the province had seen.

  • Brad Herbert - 2014-10-15 12:07

    the driver should have done the honourable thing and crashed into the side of the highway. yes he may have died, but would have possibly saved a lot more lives and injured very few. he simply used the cars as airbags to save himself.

      Zin ZA - 2014-10-15 12:24

      It's expecting a lot for anyone to make the most logical decisions in an emergency. However, I think better policing with regards to roadworthiness of these large vehicles is a better solution.

      Donovan Olivier - 2014-10-15 12:30

      headline should read: transport mec spouts nonsense, media sensationalises it.

      Mukanya - 2014-10-15 13:01

      But any driver who understands defensive driving would have chosen the softer spot if it saves his life.

      Richard Cypher - 2014-10-15 13:04

      In principle I agree with you Brad. That would have been the better thing to do. It is not entirely clear in which lane he was. If in the left-most lane, as he was supposed to be, then it would have worked. If not, it would have been difficult. Even better would have been to slow down prior to that downhill. It is a steep downhill after all. Traffic was an absolute nightmare over there for the whole day. We have too many trucks on our roads, primarily due to Spoornet incompetence.

      Margaret Cox - 2014-10-15 15:14

      Wow. That's a really intelligent, helpful remark. "it's not an accident, it's a crash". Who knew...

      John-Edward Ferreira - 2014-10-15 16:53

      Dawid. You honestly have no real idea what happened, and neither do I. To make a statement like that is ridiculous and unintelligent. If the breaks failed, i fail to see how the driver can be held accountable for anything. The truck owners should be charged with murder to set an example for other owners. I think it's easy for everyone to sit here and make ludicrous comments when they don't have any clue what actually happened or how it went down. The intelligent thing to do would be to wait for further information, then you can cast judgement (which I would like to add will be irrelevant to everyone except your friends at the dinner table). It was an accident. Similar to the Pine Town incident, I don't think it's fair to place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the truck driver, i.e calling him a coward etc etc. Can we have some logical thinking ?

      Zelda Jacobs Botha - 2014-10-15 19:08

      Brad not that easy to take a vehicle of that size to the side of the highway to crash it there. It doesn't work that way. Have you ever been in a truck ... the load pushed the truck ... you can feel it push. Now try to avoid a crash with 32 tons (32 000 kg) behind you pushing. Not easy.

      Vuyo Ntsinde - 2014-10-16 07:03

      Speed kills.

      Du Toit Grobler - 2014-10-16 07:50

      Maklik om slim te wees na die tyd - "the perfect science of hindsight"? MEC, as dit nie 'n ongeluk was nie, het hy doelbewus mense vermoor alla Pistorius?

      Dudebear - 2014-10-16 08:26

      How does insurance work in this case. SDo the owners pay insurance on the deaths? Do they pay for the medical treatment for the injured? What about emergency services, do they pay for that as well? If my car was involved here, my insurance sorts out the damages, then in turn they claim against the transporter's insurers, but my premiums escalate even though it was no fault of mine. What about time, if I were a business man on my way to a meeting, who pays for that? What exactly is the procedure insurance wise in this case. I'd really like to understand who pays for the deaths. There is also the clean up, does the transport company also pay for this?

      Arthur A Lilford - 2014-10-16 08:30

      Driver training needs to be better - MEC is a twit with his comments - need to make up new words or meanings to make the headlines - the old Nats did the same - nothing new - same rhetoric "crap" sprouts forth from the mouth's of all politicians

  • Tric - 2014-10-15 12:11

    Trucks should be kept off the highways during peak hours

      Daniel Wessels - 2014-10-15 12:14

      Taxi's too

      Jeanette Gibbs Persson - 2014-10-15 14:03

      The railways should definitely be carrying most of the goods now transported by road

      Rob Martin - 2014-10-15 19:29

      During the 90s Trucks heavy & light duty had to go thru a compulsory roadworthy check every year then issued with a certificate, if this happens today I cant say,this should be written into the RTO

      Du Toit Grobler - 2014-10-16 07:52

      Jaagduiwels ook?

      Dudebear - 2014-10-16 08:30

      I agree with Tric. The bottlenecks at peak hour are cause by trucks and taxis regardless of whther one has an emergency at work or at home, one must just stay in the flow of the traffic because of trucks etc. The problem with using freight trains is theft. years ago I watched thieves rob a train at a siding, and I think it is expensive too although I'm not too sure.

  • Thabani Dube - 2014-10-15 12:15

    MEC I refer you Oxford Concise Dictionary. Queen's language may be confusing.

      Sonja Broschk - 2014-10-15 12:24

      If you are going to bother, then please refer the MEC 'to' the dictionary...

      Thabani Dube - 2014-10-15 12:41

      Sonja point taken.

      Dudebear - 2014-10-16 08:36

      Thabani, Ignore Sonja, she doesn't know a typo from proper sentence structure. Sometimes I type so fast that letters get skipped, but she's having her hair done and is an angry woman so just ignore her.

      Fafrican - 2014-10-16 12:11

      I think Thabani that the MEC is saying that calling it an accident is trivialising the it, a crash is a harder more Onomatopoeiac way of saying it, you know like calling an agricultural implement a F@#$ing spade

      Achmat Fouze Fredericks - 2014-10-16 12:20

      Unnecessary crit Admirably handled Thabani! #respect

  • James Dowden - 2014-10-15 12:19

    His claims the brakes failed… why didn’t he drive off the road onto the hard shoulder…..??? Besides it’s about time the Traffic Dept started policing the roads and not just sit on their butts speed trapping. Or is it they might have to work for a change…

      criticallyhonest - 2014-10-15 12:29

      The brakes failed! was not the brakes' fault. Rather determine who failed in effective preventative maintenance or scheduled replacement. Take it down to people rather than passing the blame on to something that cannot be accountable (the brakes).

      Whoami Idonno - 2014-10-15 12:54

      Apparently it was on an onramp/offramp to the highway or something like that. Trucks should generally be on the inside lane and from what i have read the truck was doing some speed. So the guy on the inside lane doing speed going downhill around the bend of the onramp/offramp (whatever), if he turned too fast the truck would have probably overturned on to a number of cars and exploded in a giant ball of flame (It is a fuel tanker) so what you are suggesting James is that instead of 4 beople being killed you want to have rather seen 50 people killed?? Even if he could have turned on to the hard shoulder he still could not stop the truck which was most likely full of fuel and when the driver would have crashed after trying to slow down the truck with the gears downshifting and and thereby ripping the gearbox to shreds (that sould only slow down the rear wheels of his cab and not the trailer wheels) there would have been a massive explosion again due to the fuel and again killing any number of people again (rush hour traffic again). I think that there was only 4 dead so far is a miracle as it could have been far far worse. Imagine if the tanker had gone up in flames..

      davids5070276 - 2014-10-15 13:15

      Whoami First of all, the fuel tanker did not cause the accident, the tipper truck did. The fuel tanker was a victim of the situation as well. Secondly, Any experienced truck driver will automatically change to a lower gear and use a combination of Gears, exhaust brake as well as the normal brakes to maintain a steady speed down any hill. I believe (my opinion only) that the driver did not notice the traffic slowing down ahead of him and did not react in time to avert this tragedy. Either busy with his phone or radio or what ever.

      Pap Snoek - 2014-10-15 14:19

      I was told that, when a truck's brakes fail, they actually lock up

      Rob Martin - 2014-10-15 19:37

      The truck no shes in the one drum and a broken one in the other, refer 702 and their interview on site with a road safety consultant.

  • criticallyhonest - 2014-10-15 12:21

    Completely agree with the core issue that it is wrong to call this an accident. Now extend that perspective to all and any road crashes/incidents. Non of them are accidents. They are all caused by something and that something is almost always traceable to a human cause and therefore blame can be attributed.

      Compos Mentis - 2014-10-15 12:30

      Accident. an unfortunate event resulting from carelessness, unawareness, ignorance, or a combination of causes.

      Donovan Olivier - 2014-10-15 12:33

      while technically true, people make mistakes and not all of them, possibly a minority of them, can be traced to recklessness, stupidity or whatever "blame" you want to place on them.

      criticallyhonest - 2014-10-15 12:39

      Compos: Choose your dictionary at 20 paces!? Try another definition of accident: "an unforeseen event or one without an apparent cause" When maintenance is not done according to specs it is highly likely that a component will fail with probability of consequential damage. The effects are foreseeable! Therefore incidents such as the one reported and the vast majority of similar occurrences are not accidents

      criticallyhonest - 2014-10-15 12:47

      Donovan: Yes people make mistakes, and often it is difficult if not impossible to figure out why that person made the mistake. But what does that change? A mistake is what? An error of judgement, human error, etc. Does any of that change the issue of who is accountable? I don't think so. Maybe it should affect the severity of the redress but surely it shouldn't be an excuse for diverting the blame.

  • Koos Eloff - 2014-10-15 12:24

    Let the truck owner carried the cost on ALL this.

      Mirnix Dirnix - 2014-10-15 18:18

      Koos, have you any Idea of the costs involved? Several Millions of rands!! No where a Truck Driver can only remotely find that kind of cash in his life-time!So leave it up to the insurances!

  • Terry Terrence Vukeya - 2014-10-15 12:24


  • Gavin Nefdt - 2014-10-15 12:25

    Semantics is certainly not Vadi's strong point!

  • Teancum Smith - 2014-10-15 12:27

    The headline is misleading :(

  • Thamsanqa Khumalo - 2014-10-15 12:28

    He intended to crash into those 40 odd cars but never intended to kill/injure any of the victims,wait for it,its coming...condolences to the lives lost and wish a speedy recovery to the ones battling the aftermath of the accident.

  • Patrick Jimu - 2014-10-15 12:28

    These politicians trying to score political points from a disaster. If the MEC for transport is labeling this a crash NOT accident then he is saying there is negligence from the truck owner's side in terms of maintenance of the trucks on our roads. But who is supposed to ensure that these vehicles are safe and checked regularly, because i didnt see anywhere where the MEC is taking some responsibility. These guys sit in these offices and think their job is to blame others when things go wrong, when in fact they are not creating systems that minimise or eliminate such incidents from happening. Am sure when that truck accident happened in Durban a few months back he sat back and thought that was a Durban problem, nothing to do with him. I also think it is criminal to arrest drivers who are just employees and not decision makers when such things happen, where are the owners or managers of the transport companies who probably sanction skipping maintenance. Thats our biggest problem in Africa, politicians dont take responsibility for failures in their departments

      Leon Van Vuuren - 2014-10-15 20:39

      I agree with patrick corruption has spilt over onto our roads,you can buy a code 14 license just about on any street corner,officials and politicians are to blame for allowing these bastards to do business

  • Emma Sanderson - 2014-10-15 12:31

    I don't think a lot of these drivers have advanced driving skills and they drive way too fast.

  • Brandon Mortimer - 2014-10-15 12:36

    firstly this was a tragic event and my sympathy to love ones, families ans victims....i wonder if the truck driver had the intent to wake up be involved in an accident and cause the loss of lives....he probarbly trying to make a living....the owner reeps the benefits of profit gained...and should assure his vehicles are roadworthy....he should be held accountable if his vehicle was not roadworthy....i know the driver has a responsability....but surely the onus rest on the owner....different scenario if driver was negligent...speeding for reaction...come on it must have happened very fast...

  • Sulette Behnke - 2014-10-15 12:36

    Have they visited patients in the private hospitals too ?

  • Bloody Agent - 2014-10-15 12:37

    Mmm, I just happen to know the company who's truck was involved very well. They were clients of our for many a moon. And let me share say this, their vehicles are stringently inspected routinely. Good thing about this is, failed brakes are quite easily proved, and if the owner is responsible, then so be it, but if not let thise responsible face the music.

  • Pogiso Mekgwe - 2014-10-15 12:50

    Why is it always the dept of transport only inspections on a specific vehicle for specific company after its has been involved in an accident? Why can't they do this randomly on a daily basis? Please answer MEC..........

  • Monique Nadine Lovelock - 2014-10-15 12:55

    Truck drivers shove you off the road. They also speed or race cars to be a head of them. They have no concern for others on the road, some companies do not even take their driver on. I fear for my life just being next to one.

      Dudebear - 2014-10-16 08:45

      I don't agree with you Monique. I went on a long trip recently and the truck drivers were courteous and polite. Of the 80 or so trucks I passed, only one did not veer to the side to allow me free passage. Just saying.

  • Pogiso Mekgwe - 2014-10-15 12:56

    Accident or Crash its all matter our fellow citizens lost love ones,our friends are injured,please how about you keep quite.

  • Chase Cameron - 2014-10-15 13:00

    It IS an accident unless intent can be proven. It is also a tragedy. A crash doesn't make it sound more intense.

  • Pogiso Mekgwe - 2014-10-15 13:01

    We value life.if you don't please keep quite whether you are the so called minister or are only concern when there is a big accident or the crash as you call it but other than that you dont do anything.If your department can stop being seasonal department things will be better. Most of the time we only hear you talking during big accident, easter holidays and festive season.To hell with your department.

  • Bill van Zyl - 2014-10-15 13:04

    And how, pray Sir, is an accident different from a crash?????????????????????

      Dan Demoyne - 2014-10-15 13:30

      Typical African thinking. That's like saying it's not a sphere it's a ball

      victor.downing.37 - 2014-10-15 21:45

      Let's try again when one has an accident is an event that is without cause. A crash is to collide or cause a vehicle to collide violently with another vehicle, obstacle, etc. Oxford dictionary.

      Reerie May - 2014-10-16 02:54

      Lol hulle sal om elke hoek en draai d mense kritiseer

  • Isebel Botha - 2014-10-15 13:04

    There are plenty of people who cant drive. Some people cant even drive in there own lane. They use your lane aswel. It is scarey out there. This morning in Wadeville i saw two trucks that didnt stick to the speedlimit.

      Noel Hagen - 2014-10-15 13:15

      Fully agree. There is definitely a problem with lanes. Many can't seem to stay in the middle of the lines and wander from side to side.

  • du.mabaso - 2014-10-15 13:05

    Juergen, don't you dare undermine primary school teachers!!! (Fuming)

      Dan Demoyne - 2014-10-15 13:30

      What's the matter?

  • Rohin Jadin - 2014-10-15 13:08

    this serves as a reminder that every time we get into a car it could be our last time - yes the truck was not road worthy but so often cars pull in front of trucks thinking it's okay because they're slow moving - only to see the trucks having to slam on brakes - we ALL need to drive less selfishly. RIP to the deceased, and a quick recovery to all those wounded, physically and emotionally.

  • Neels Minnaar - 2014-10-15 13:11

    And they are trying to prevent accidents by hiding away at speed traps in the shade.

  • Jenny Anderson - 2014-10-15 13:18

    Get trucks off the road during rush hour traffic!!!

      Dan Demoyne - 2014-10-15 13:29

      Best suggestion I've heard all year. No trucks on freeways between 6-9am and 4-7pm

  • Claudio Winzell Tlale - 2014-10-15 13:19

    In the United States when something like this happen they file charges on the owner of the truck or the logistics company not the driver only. Yes he was irresponsible for driving that fast but should not only be alone in the hot seat, cause what happens with logistic companies in our country is that they fire the driver when something like this happens. Shouldn't they also be responsible for checking if the truck is road worthy or not?

      Dan Demoyne - 2014-10-15 13:27

      We do. We know how to govern our people.

  • Njabulo Sidambe - 2014-10-15 13:35

    some citizen lost their loved ones n pple r only concerned abt da mec statement,y cant pple stop attacking ae other n comfort da bereaved n try to cum up wit solutions to reduce road accidents puttin heads together.dis z no tym to blame or prove who z ryt or wrong!!!

  • Kallie Marie - 2014-10-15 13:35

    Truck drivers declared war on us commuters , they are trying to kill us all ... no trucks should now be allowed on Gauteng highways during peak hours because they cannot be trusted . Saw one yesterday that clearly thought he was driving a Ferrari. This guy should be trialed as a mass murderer

      Juanita Golgaves - 2014-10-15 13:47

      Couldn't agree more Kallie .... but our police officers will only take backhand pay and so the problem continues ... I have seen metro police casually drive away from an incident which clearly needed police intervention.

      Reerie May - 2014-10-16 02:47

      En da wrd d polisie alwee geblame

  • Jessica Jones - 2014-10-15 15:14

    I think if the driver drove slower, perhaps he couldve avoided all the damage caused and deaths of innocent ppl...

      ursula.nel.503 - 2014-10-15 23:11

      Soos altyd staan die beste stuurman op die kaai

  • Johan du Toit - 2014-10-15 17:31

    Another MEC showing off his brilliant mind.

      Reerie May - 2014-10-16 02:45

      Another brilliant racist

  • Brian Bagnall - 2014-10-15 18:56

    This Country is one big accident from top to bottom. Road accidents are on the daily increase and very little is being done to stop it. Traffic authorities shuold start clamping down on drivers who continually fail to obey the rules of the road. Buying drivers licences is an ongoing trade and the traffic authorities are linked to this trade so! where do we go from here? Its a never ending corruption case and no one is going to do enything about it. This means that the accidents will continue to increase on a daily basis. We all risk our lives on the roads today and its not a pleasure to go anywhere.

  • Jr Strydom - 2014-10-15 19:02

    Now everybody knows what to do if suddenly something goes wrong in heavy traffic.

  • Vuyo Ntsinde - 2014-10-16 07:02

    If he was driving at 80km/h or less things would have been different.

  • Peter Mclaren - 2014-10-16 07:46

    Hey Vadi when are you going to start talking about getting the roadworthy, unlicensed, taxis off the road and bringing their owners to book. The problem is that you and the Metro are too S@%t scared to go there.

      Dudebear - 2014-10-16 08:47

      Peter, you are so right.

  • Peter Mclaren - 2014-10-16 07:47

    I meant UNROADWORTHY taxis

  • Cecil Van Den Bergh - 2014-10-16 08:22

    They maintain this truck's brakes were defective and that it was not roadworthy. We as an association of test stations have been trying for the past NINE YEARS to get National DoT to do something about this and to address the fact that over a period of only three months about 22000 vehicles, mostly trucks and taxis, from KZN alone were issued with illegal Roadworthy certificates; this is on-going. Is it not time that any examiner who issues an illegal certificate to a truck or vehicle that causes the deaths of others be charged with "murder", or at the very least culpable homicide? The question remains, why will National DoT not do anything about this; we loose about 15000 lives on the road each year!

  • Dudebear - 2014-10-16 08:25

    How does insurance work in this case. SDo the owners pay insurance on the deaths? Do they pay for the medical treatment for the injured? What about emergency services, do they pay for that as well? If my car was involved here, my insurance sorts out the damages, then in turn they claim against the transporter's insurers, but my premiums escalate even though it was no fault of mine. What about time, if I were a business man on my way to a meeting, who pays for that? What exactly is the procedure insurance wise in this case. I'd really like to understand who pays for the deaths. There is also the clean up, does the transport company also pay for this?

  • Cathy Porter - 2014-10-16 08:33

    I live very close to Hendrik Potgieter the number of trucks on this road has increased ten fold since I moved into the area. They belt it out on that road with NO consideration for any other motorists often going through red robots. All the cops do WHEN they do anything is pull cars and taxis off......... disgusting

  • Dudebear - 2014-10-16 08:46

    Accidents are a Western thing! LOL

  • Charles Matthews - 2014-10-16 10:24

    So the MEC & SAPA is already in disagreement!? MEC says it is no accident and SAPA says it is the worst accident?

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