Pietermaritzburg: The province of KwaZulu-Natal has lost 158 lives in separate road accidents in July 2013, the KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Willies Mchunu, said today.
Mchunu was speaking to SAnews following the tragic death of six people in a car crash on the N2 in uMgababa on Sunday. He has since ordered that a full investigation be conducted into the cause of the latest accident.
“This is shocking and unacceptable. Losing so many people in one month is alarming and I strongly condemn all those road users who are deliberately violating traffic laws,” he said.
“I have instructed all traffic officers to be high alert and act harshly against any form of transgression on the road.”
According to a statement issued by Mchunu’s office today, “a preliminary report reveals that yesterday (4 August 2012) at about 5pm, a VW Polo was making a U-turn on the highway when it collided with a speeding VW Golf. The two vehicles caught fire during the collision and five occupants were burnt beyond recognition. One later died in hospital.”
The statement further said the process of identifiying the burnt bodies has begun, “but it is a painstaking exercise”.
Four other occupants sustained critical injuries and were taken to eNtabeni Hospital. One minor was airlifted to Chief Albert Luthuli Hospital.
In a separate accident today at Ntabamhlophe in Estcourt, two minibus taxis collided, one person died and several others sustained injuries.
“On behalf of the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government, I would like to send my deepest condolences to the families who lost their loved ones and wish a speedy recovery to those who are hospitalized,” said Mchunu.
Mchunu’s spokesman Kwanele Ncalane said the province had about 850 traffic officers. “Most accidents happen over the weekend. Without exception, the main cause is always either speeding or driving under the influence of alcohol.”