Call for more inspections at bus depots

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Tragic scenes played out after an Eldo Coaches bus crashed on the N3 at Tugela Bridge near the Bergville off-ramp on Tuesday morning.
Tragic scenes played out after an Eldo Coaches bus crashed on the N3 at Tugela Bridge near the Bergville off-ramp on Tuesday morning.
Claudine Senekal (Ladysmith Herald)

The Democratised Transport Logistics and Allied Workers Union (DETAWU) calls for regular inspection visits to bus company depots to ensure safety regulations are complied with. 

This comes after 10 people, including a baby, died in a horrific bus accident on the N3 near the Bergville off-ramp Kwa-Zulu Natal on Tuesday. 

The bus, Eldo Coaches, was traveling from Durban to Johannesburg when there was a blow out of the front wheel, resulting in the coach to roll. 

The union said there was a need for tougher action against long haul passenger bus companies. 

“We are deeply concerned that the government does not appear to have a concrete plan on how to curb these tragic accidents that result in massive loss of life,” said Vusi Ntshangase, DETAWU General Secretary. 

Ntshangase said long haul passenger buses must be inspected on a regular basis to ensure they comply with safety regulations.     

He said they appreciate that bus drivers are often charged with culpable homicide whenever these unfortunate accidents occur.

However, Ntshangase said it was grossly unfair that drivers are charged even when there is clear evidence that the accident was due to a mechanical fault.

“In such cases, the company directors and owners should be criminally charged because they are responsible for ensuring vehicles are safe to transport passengers. This will serve as a deterrent and safeguard thousands of lives,” he said.

Ntshangase said the police, through the traffic law enforcement officers, must conduct aggressive routine checks on public transport vehicles on the road to doubly ensure compliance.

He further called upon employers to ensure that drivers are well-rested before embarking on long trips to avoid fatigue as it impairs concentration.  

Ntshangase added that the union was anxious that if no urgent action is taken to curb serious accidents, they might see fatalities spike as the festive season approaches. 

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