Four from same family killed in ‘death stretch’ crash
FOUR men from the same Cape Town family were killed in a headon collision between a car and a minibus on the notorious “death stretch” on the N1 highway between Laingsburg and Beaufort West early yesterday.
The victims, Mvuleni Mazinyo, 32, Amkele Mazinyo, 30, Songezo Mazinyo, 47, and Maqandandile Mazinyo, 61, were travelling in a BMW towards Beaufort West shortly before 8am when they collided with a Mercedes Benz Sprinter with two occupants enroute to Cape Town.
Police said the Mazinyo family were from Browns Far m in Philippi.
A fifth man, Siwalo Gentleman, 20, from Cradock, was also killed. He was a passenger in the minibus.
The N1 was closed to traffic for about four hours while authorities cleared the accident and two survivors, aged 30 and 40, were rushed to Laingsburg Hospital. One was later airlifted to Tygerberg Hospital and the other was transferred to Worcester, said police spokesman Lindikhaya Mkhontwana.
Police are investigating a case of culpable homicide.
The latest accident brings the death toll on the province’s roads to 14 since the beginning of the month.
Provincial traffic spokesman Harold Williams said of the 14, nine of the fatalities had happened on the Laingsburg-Beaufort West “death stretch”. A total of 16 accidents were reported during the same period.
Nationally, almost 200 people have been killed on the roads since December 1.
Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele warned motorists to “drive properly or else”.
“As we head towards the New Year, traffic law enforcement will be intensified and absolutely no mercy will be shown to traffic offenders,” he said.
The National Road Traffic Act instructed courts to suspend licences where drivers were convicted of drunk, reckless or negligent driving.
And from November 20 the act was amended to include speeding over the limit by more than 30km/h in an urban area and more than 40km/h outside an urban area as mandatory grounds for suspending of licences.
This week, four people were killed in two accidents near Kei Bridge in the Eastern Cape, police said.
A 33-year-old woman died when her car collided head-on with a bus along Kei Cuttings between Butterworth and Kei Bridge, according to police spokesman Captain Jackson Manatha.
Three people also died and three others were injured in a collision between two cars on the N2 between Kei Bridge and East London after a car carrying four people allegedly lost control and swerved into oncoming traffic.
On Thursday a woman was killed and 45 passengers injured when a Roadlink bus overturned on the N1 highway south of Kroonstad, police said.
Yesterday, police arrested three Gauteng motorists for exceeding the speed limit. The two men, aged 28 and 42, were caught doing 183km/h and 197km/h on Valtakie and Bronkhorstpruit off-ramps respectively. Both men were released on R500 bail.
Traffic officials have mean- while stepped up their efforts to ensure that holidaymakers reach their destinations safely.
Provincial traffic authorities and the City of Cape Town are each planning a range of roadblocks for the weekend.
Provincial traffic chief Kenny Africa said his team would man roadblocks throughout the night in all major towns across the province this weekend, on the lookout for speedsters and drunken drivers.
Africa warned speedsters that all Western Cape traffic centres had been instructed to enforce speed traps on national and main roads.
“People who speed on the province’s roads will be arrested and locked up,” he warned.
He also endorsed Lead SA’s campaign for motorists to drive with
their lights on. “Why are we still struggling to get people to switch on their headlights? Drive with your lights on… it will cost you nothing but it could save your life and those of other motorists.”
Metro police spokesman Nowellen Petersen said they would hold roadblocks on the city’s main routes and at highaccident locations over the weekend.
The Western Cape director of Traffic Law Enforcement, Donald Lakey, said their traffic officials were patrolling between various traf fic centres, concentrating on visibility.
“We’ve got unmarked vehicles patrolling roads among the normal traffic. They will not hesitate to enforce the law,” he said.
Provincial traffic authorities warned motorists to inspect their vehicles before hitting the long roads.
Meanwhile, thousands of holidaymakers are making their way to the coast.
The Huguenot Tunnel near Paarl has reported a steady flow of traffic since the schools closed last week.
The tunnel’s general manager, Eric Eksteen, said judging from previous Christmas holidays, the really heavy traffic volumes were probably over. There had been no long queues yesterday.
“On Friday the 10th we had about 15 500 vehicles passing through in both directions, on Wednesday the same number, but on Reconciliation Day we had 17 000 vehicles passing through our gates,” Eksteen said.