RTMC to probe Putco crashed bus claims

2012-07-05 18:55

Johannesburg - Claims that someone altered the roadworthy certificate of a Putco bus that crashed last week will be probed, the Road Traffic Management Corporation said on Thursday.

"It is going to form part of the investigation," said Ashref Ismail, spokesperson for the RTMC, which has already started its investigation.

Nineteen people, including the bus driver, died and 55 were injured in the crash on June 25. One of the injured died on Tuesday of injuries suffered in the crash, Deputy Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga said at a memorial service on Wednesday.

The Star Africa Edition reported on Thursday that there were two conflicting letters, reportedly from the Midvaal municipality, on the roadworthiness of the bus.


The Midvaal Municipality "admitted to creating a second letter" declaring the bus roadworthy after the crash, the newspaper reported.

The first document, dated 14 June, showed that bus number 7167C had "failed retest" and been sent for another retest on June 21.

A second letter, also dated 14 June, but created after the crash, indicated that the bus had passed the test.

Midvaal municipality spokesperson Yvonne Muller said buses and other vehicles were pulled off the roads and sent off for testing at Meyerton testing station on 12 June during a special operation held by the Midvaal municipality,

She said the Meyerton testing station did not fall under the Midvaal municipality but the Sedibeng municipality.

When the bus was tested at Meyerton on 12 June it was found to be not roadworthy and a retest was recommended.

The Midvaal municipality said in a statement later: "The report on the bus suggested a re-test due to the brakes failing to reach all requirements for roadworthiness. A reminder was sent to Putco by Midvaal Traffic on the 14th of June to have buses listed for re-testing tested again.

"Bus 7167C was listed as a pass on the Midvaal letter since the bus has already been for another test as picked up from the eNat[i]s (National Traffic Information System).

Midvaal could not confirm at what station the bus had been re-tested. The only information they were privy to was that the bus had been tested and passed the test on 14 June.

Putco spokesperson Raphiri Matsaneng said: "It is not proper that we go back and forth on issues that we don't have clarity on.

"We have committed ourselves to abide by the findings of the investigation. We have registered our disquiet with Midvaal over two letters that come from them that are different.

"They have one that they feel is authentic that came from them, but it won't help to move back and forth on this matter.

"It will be put to rest when the findings are put on the table and then all affected parties should be bound by those findings."


He said the company was following up on an operation in Mpumalanga where 50 Putco buses were impounded on the Moloto road on Tuesday.

Eighteen allegedly did not have the necessary permits, while 32 others were found to be defective.
Matsaneng said the information about the permits was not entirely true.

The company was given receipts when applying for bus permits annually in Gauteng, but had realised that the permits "are not welcomed by officials in Mpumalanga".

There was proof that the permits had been renewed, and Putco felt they should have been considered valid. It was hopeful the matter could be resolved.

The company did not have a report yet detailing the extent of the alleged unroadworthiness of vehicles, Matsaneng said.