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