Four from same fam­ily killed in ‘death stretch’ crash

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - WARDA MEYER

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.

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