Pretoria: Transport Minister Dipuo Peters has expressed shock and sadness at the loss of lives from various crashes that occurred over the weekend.
This included the passing on of a group of maidens, who were returning home from the Reed Dance at Enyokeni, King’s Palace in Nongoma. Preliminary reports indicate that the driver of a bus returning from the Reed Dance in Nongoma lost control of the bus and crashed on the R66 Nkwalini, Melmoth in KwaZulu-Natal, resulting in the death of 10 people – including the bus driver.
Several other passengers in the bus sustained multiples injuries during the crash.
In the Eliotdale area near Good Hope in Mthatha, Eastern Cape, on the DR18031, the driver of a Toyota Venture also lost control, leading the vehicle to overturn. This resulted in six fatalities and 11 serious injuries.
At approximately 11:30pm on the N2 between King Williamstown and East London, about 5km from Berlin in the Eastern Cape, three vehicles were involved in a crash, resulting in five people being killed and five seriously injured.
Preliminary reports indicate that two vehicles collided head-on, while the third vehicle drove into the wreckage of the other two.
In another incident, on the N6 between Reddersburg and Bloemfontein in the Free State, five vehicles were involved in a crash.
A head-on crash occurred between two vehicles and then three other vehicles crashed into the wreckage. The crash resulted in seven fatalities.
On Monday morning, at approximately 5:15am on the R63 at the Hanover turnoff between Bisho and Komga in the Eastern Cape, a head-rear-end crash occurred between a Toyota Venture and a stationary truck that resulted in eight fatalities and three serious injuries.
The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) has since dispatched teams of crash and incident investigation and reconstruction specialists to determine the exact causes of the crashes.
Minister Peters has called for a speedy conclusion of the investigations so that the authorities can get to the bottom of the causes of these horrific crashes.
The minister described the weekend crashes as tragic and monumental occurrences that should prompt everyone to take action regarding safety on the roads.
“Having just recently unveiled the department’s integrated 365-days Road Safety Programme in August, we are very saddened by this loss of so many of our people’s lives.
“We reiterate our call to motorists and all road users to be vigilant on the roads at all times. Our heartfelt and sincere condolences go to the families of the deceased and we wish all those who are injured a speedy recovery,” she said.
Peters said the department will soon bring all role players within the road safety space under one roof in order to come up with bold action plans to curb the carnage.
“This carnage on our roads must be brought to a stop. All of us as South Africans have to join hands and bring it to a stop.
“We need to form and sustain partnerships between government and civil society to win this war against the road carnage.
“Our traffic law enforcement officers must remain vigilant in their enforcement of road traffic rules, without fear or favour. If vehicles are found to be unroadworthy, they must be taken off the road to save the lives of our people.”
The Road Accident Fund has already begun to assist the families of the deceased and injured with the necessary support during this difficult period.
The National House of Traditional Leaders also expressed their condolences to the families of the maidens who lost their lives in the crash from the Reed Dance.
Spokesperson of the House of Traditional Leaders, Mandla Linda, said: “The Institution of Traditional Leadership values the maidens in their capacity as future leaders, therefore losing them in huge numbers meant a great loss to the nation.
“On behalf of all traditional leaders in the country, we wish to convey words of sympathy and deepest condolences to the bereaved Royal Family of KwaZulu-Natal, the families of the deceased maidens.