Questions over Knysna bus roadworthiness

2011-08-29 14:27

Cape Town - The bus, in which 14 children were killed in an accident outside Knysna last week, was found to have insufficient brake force and a loose steering mechanism 10 days prior to the crash, but was subsequently passed later the same day.

"We can confirm that the vehicle was put through a roadworthy test at TJ's on 14 April 2011, from 10:20 to 10:40 in the morning," Western Cape Transport MEC Robin Carlisle said in a statement on Monday.

"The roadworthiness test sheet says that the bus in question, CAW 37415, failed this test due to insufficient brake force and a loose steering mechanism."

Carlisle said the bus returned to the rest station at noon on the same day and was re-tested.

"This test took 11 minutes. The bus passed this test and its roadworthy status was updated on the eNatis system," Carlisle said.

"The examiner at both tests was Eugene Labuschagne, the owner of TJ's Vehicle Testing Station."

Carlisle said their manager for roads and traffic administration, Melvin Arendse, requested all the information pertaining to the roadworthiness of the bus on Wednesday, the day of the crash.

He said his department had been consulting with a former employee of a motor company, Tata, about the braking system used in the bus.

"As soon as we have been able to deduce whether it was possible that the braking and steering systems could have been repaired in one hour and 20 minutes, we will make an announcement," he said.

The bus plunged off a low bridge into the swollen Kassat se Drift River near Knysna, killing 14 schoolchildren and their driver.

  • Grant - 2011-08-29 14:31

    This sounds dodgy!

      Poloyatonki - 2011-08-29 14:51

      I agree, especially this part "braking and steering systems could have been repaired in one hour and 20 minutes"

      Enigma - 2011-08-29 15:26

      Eugene was bribed to pass the bus. How on earth can a bus fail one minute and pass the next in the same day? The tester must also be accountable for this, them both (bus company and the tester) for every penny they've got.

  • Gavin Mannion - 2011-08-29 14:44

    If Eugene is found to have forged this does he get arrested for culpable homicide? I wonder how much of a bribe is needed to put kids lives at risk?

  • Deon - 2011-08-29 14:48

    20 minutes for a roadworthy test ??????

      Dayat Atime - 2011-08-29 15:13

      The second test took less time as they most likely only tested the steering and brakes and did not run the full test over since the bus had passed all other aspects

      Taurusaurus - 2011-08-29 15:40

      Dayat Atime, I think Deon is referring to the first test. :)

  • jakkals - 2011-08-29 14:51

    Really hoping that those who could have prevented this tragedy, be held responsible and receive the fullest punishment allowed by law.

  • dyllon.leigh - 2011-08-29 14:52

    If this is true, and Eugene accepted a bride to pass the road worthy test he should be held accountable for the deaths of the children!

      toleranne - 2011-08-29 15:19

      Hmm. D'you think they factored in the cost of the reception?

      Gungets Tuft - 2011-08-29 15:26

      Just the lobola was factored in. This was in knysna, we know how bad the reception is there ..

  • Tommy - 2011-08-29 15:03

    3rd world what! At least the driver and the bus are out of the system. Pity the kids!

      Grayman - 2011-08-29 15:46

      Just a thought Tommy: Although the driver should be ultimately responsible for not overloading the bus, it is not unheard of for taxi and bus owners to force the drivers to overload to get their monies worth at the risk of getting fired. I, for one, would not like to be a bus or taxi driver in this country thanks.

      OH_DEAR - 2011-08-30 07:12

      grayman, this is like saying that many of the nazis were not responsible because they were 'merely following orders'. this bus driver was an adult - if what you say was correct in this instance, then it was the driver's moral obligation to make a stand.

  • gabriel.melim - 2011-08-29 15:05

    It is amazing to note how many defective vehicles still pass RWC tests. When I questioned a RWC recently I was told that they advise what needs to be done and do not ensure that it is done. Things like faulty wipers, tyres with seperations, excessive oil on engine block, etc are just skimmed over. There needs to be a serious and in-depth audit of these private test stations to ensure that we are not looking at qunatity, but quality of RWCs issued. Addressing this will reduce road fatalities and ensure safer motoring.

  • Dayat Atime - 2011-08-29 15:14

    Was a reason given yet as to why the original bus was not available?

  • The Gecko - 2011-08-29 15:20

    If it can't be proved that the breaking and steering was, indeed, repaired, Mr. Labuschagne should be charged with culpable manslaughter for each child that died (plus the driver), and reckless endangerment for each child that survived. Make an example of him - perhaps then corrupt testing officials will sit up and take note.

  • Darren - 2011-08-29 15:22

    Look for an invoice, an hour and a half labour for a repair of that type, I need to find that garage/mechanic

      DW - 2011-08-29 15:34

      No you dont. As you can see, the "repair" didnt last, did it?

  • Hansie - 2011-08-29 15:26

    Lawenforcement on our roads does occur - to solicite a bribe, that is the long & short of an tragic incident that could have been prevented.

  • Monika - 2011-08-29 15:30

    I do NOT understand what they are still investigating - the bus was OVERLOADED. Deal with people not obeying certain - very necessary - laws!! (including proper roadworthy tests)

  • Silli - 2011-08-29 15:39

    You cannot inspect a vehicle of this type in 20 mins!

      Kisha - 2011-08-29 15:45

      Yes you can, if you wear a special type of blinkers!

  • OZNOB - 2011-08-29 15:41

    makes sense - overloaded bus plus faulty braks and steerage system equals a disater waiting to happen. unfortunately everyone else gets to pay for someone elses greed/stupidity

  • Alex - 2011-08-29 15:54

    I just saw a bus from the same company/owner drive through Knysna with black smoke billowing from the exhaust you could smell it all down the road, obviously the whole fleet should be off the road...!!!!!

  • darkwing - 2011-08-29 15:55

    I've heard that you just leave a bottle of brandy on the seat and you get your certificate.

      SAHID - 2011-08-29 17:08


  • OH_DEAR - 2011-08-30 07:11

    i do not think that eugene is sleeping very soundly at the moment.

  • Strider - 2011-08-30 07:51

    Listen, I pass at LEAST 50 taxi's a day! Most of them look overloaded AND un-roadworthy! I see traffic cops ONCE maybe every SECOND month.... This story just exposes the tip of a very unstable iceberg...

  • Kevin Hollow - 2011-08-30 16:08

    having lived up north in another 3rd world country you can see how we are slowly becoming just like them. Their buses are total wrecks and fatalities are horrendous. Wont be long and we will be right up there with them in the vehicle murders per kilometer

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