Fa­tal road crashes ‘a na­tional emer­gency’

18 peo­ple lose lives in ac­ci­dent in­volv­ing truck and minibuses


THE HIGH num­ber of ac­ci­dents re­sult­ing in fa­tal­i­ties in the coun­try must be treated as a na­tional emer­gency.

This is the call by the South African Fed­er­a­tion of Trade Unions af­ter a deadly ac­ci­dent in­volv­ing two minibus taxis and a truck in Mpumalanga yes­ter­day claimed 18 lives and left at least 15 other peo­ple in­jured.

“The high num­ber of ac­ci­dents like th­ese, and the ap­palling num­ber of deaths and in­juries, must be treated as a na­tional emer­gency,” Saftu said.

“At least 45 peo­ple per­ish ev­ery sin­gle day on our coun­try’s roads. It is an emer­gency that must be ad­dressed with­out de­lay.”

The deadly col­li­sion hap­pened when a Mozam­bique-reg­is­tered ar­tic­u­lated truck and a minibus col­lided on the R541 be­tween Machado and Bad­plaas out­side Machadodorp at about 6am.

An on­com­ing minibus then col­lided with the ve­hi­cles in­volved in the ac­ci­dent. The minibus taxis were trans­port­ing con­tract work­ers from Franki Africa to Nko­mati nickel mine, ac­cord­ing to Franki Africa man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Er­rol Braith­waite.

ER24 spokesper­son Rus­sel Meir­ing said paramedics had ar­rived to find sev­eral pas­sen­gers trapped in­side the bus, while nu­mer­ous oth­ers were walk­ing around.

The ac­ci­dent came af­ter six peo­ple were killed and 54 in­jured when a bus drove into a sta­tion­ary truck in the Free State on Mon­day. The truck had re­port­edly bro­ken down on the N8 be­tween Bot­sha­belo and Bloem­fontein.

The Road Traf­fic Man­age­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (RTMC) said the fre­quent road crashes in the coun­try were of grave con­cern.

“The coun­try has ex­pe­ri­enced two ma­jor col­li­sions in the last 24 hours in which trucks and pub­lic trans­port ve­hi­cles have crashed into each other, re­sult­ing in the death of 24 peo­ple and in­juries to 69 oth­ers,” the RTMC said.

The cor­po­ra­tion added that it would be work­ing with the SAPS and pro­vin­cial au­thor­i­ties to in­ves­ti­gate the causes of the ac­ci­dents.

It also pro­vided sta­tis­tics of ac­ci­dents in­volv­ing trucks last year. It said it had probed 36 crashes in­volv­ing trucks, in which 143 peo­ple were killed.

“A to­tal of 49 trucks were in­volved in the col­li­sions, which also in­volved 35 light mo­tor ve­hi­cles, 18 light de­liv­ery ve­hi­cles, 11 minibuses and one mo­tor­cy­cle,” the RTMC said.

“Most of the crashes were mul­ti­ple-ve­hi­cle-type crashes, head-on col­li­sions, head-to-rear crashes and side-swipe-type crashes.”

The cor­po­ra­tion called on mo­torists to be vig­i­lant.

“The win­ter pe­riod in South Africa is char­ac­terised by poor visibility, veld fires and ex­tended pe­ri­ods of dark­ness.”

Braith­waite said they were in the process of iden­ti­fy­ing the de­ceased work­ers.

“Our com­mu­nity is dev­as­tated, and we are sup­port­ing the af­fected fam­i­lies and col­leagues wher­ever pos­si­ble,” he said. – Ad­di­tional re­port­ing by ANA

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