Smart bus owner ac­cepts blame for Rusape crash

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Rumbidzayi Zinyuke Man­i­ca­land Bureau

SMART Ex­press Bus Com­pany has pro­vided $10 000 to as­sist fam­i­lies of the Rusape bus ac­ci­dent which claimed 46 lives on Wed­nes­day evening, and left dozens in­jured.

The ac­ci­dent oc­curred at the 166km peg along the Harare-Mutare High­way and in­volved Bolt Cut­ter and Smart Ex­press buses.

Smart Ex­press owner Mrs Arima Mk­wamba said the money was their con­tri­bu­tion to­wards as­sist­ing fam­i­lies of the de­ceased and the in­jured.

The do­na­tion was handed over to the Civil Pro­tec­tion Unit (CPU), through the of­fice of the Man­i­ca­land pro­vin­cial ad­min­is­tra­tor, Mr Edgar Seenza.

Mr Seenza said the money would be dis­bursed to the fam­i­lies of the de­ceased at Rusape Hospi­tal when they came to col­lect the bod­ies of their loved ones.

Govern­ment has pro­vided $25 000 to­wards the cause while the In­sur­ance Coun­cil of Zim­babwe (ICZ) will set­tle all hospi­tal bills. FSG and Nyaradzo Fu­neral Ser­vices are as­sist­ing with coffins and trans­port­ing the de­ceased to their fi­nal rest­ing places. The to­tal mon­e­tary as­sis­tance to each be­reaved fam­ily is cur­rently $1 350.

Mean­while, Mrs Mk­wamba has blamed the ac­ci­dent on reck­less­ness on the part of the driver, iden­ti­fied as Cos­mas Marembo.

Mrs Mk­wamba said the com­pany was deeply sad­dened by the loss of lives.

“We never thought our buses would be in­volved in an ac­ci­dent of this mag­ni­tude and it is re­ally a sad de­vel­op­ment. This is hap­pen­ing be­cause of reck­less driv­ing,” she said.

“The name of our buses, ‘Smart’, means we are op­er­at­ing a clean busi­ness. My fam­ily and I have never used any juju to en­hance our busi­ness. We run a clean busi­ness. It is un­for­tu­nate that we have been a vic­tim of so many ac­ci­dents in a short space of time.”

Smart Ex­press man­ager Mr Der­ick Si­gauke said the com­pany al­ways in­structed its driv­ers to ex­er­cise cau­tion on the road and to drive within the stip­u­lated speed lim­its but some­times the driv­ers be­haved dif­fer­ently.

He said Marembo had been with the com­pany for over a year and was one of their best driv­ers.

He de­nied claims that the com­pany was set­ting daily tar­gets for its crews, which pushed them to speed to meet them.

“We do not set tar­gets for our driv­ers and we never force them to go to Harare and come back to Mutare on the same day. If the bus can­not come back we urge the crew to sleep over in Harare and re­turn the fol­low­ing day,” he said.

“This par­tic­u­lar driver has been with us since we started the Beit­bridge-Mutare route over a year ago and he has never had a prob­lem. He was a Zupco driver for more than 10 years be­fore join­ing us.”

Mean­while, Marembo has handed him­self over to Rusape Traf­fic Po­lice, The Her­ald has learnt.

Ac­cord­ing to Man­i­ca­land pro­vin­cial po­lice spokesper­son In­spec­tor Tavhir­ingwa Kako­hwa, Marembo handed him­self over to the po­lice at around 2pm on Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon.

“For now we can­not talk of the charges that he is fac­ing be­cause in­ves­ti­ga­tions are still in progress,” said Insp Kako­hwa.

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