The KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Sipho Hlomuka, decries the death of seven (7) people in a bakkie crash between eXopo and Highflats.
The accident happened on Sunday (28 August 2022) in the late hours of the day on main road R612. Six people died on the scene and one later died in a local hospital according to the police.
Amongst the deceased are four staff members from a local Boxer store who were part of the occupants in a bakkie. It is believed they were coming from a traditional function in Highflats to Fairview.
It is alleged that the bakkie was overloaded and police have opened a case of culpable homicide. The investigation will look into other factors that could have possibly contributed to the accident.
Seven other occupants who are believed to have sustained serious injuries, were taken to Christ the King hospital and others were taken to Pietermaritzburg.
The Department of Transport working with agencies and local municipalities has assigned a team of officials to the area to assist the families. Part of the process will include identification in mortuary, assistance with psycho–social services and facilitation of assistance in relation to the preparation of the funerals.
Commenting on this deadly accident, MEC Hlomuka called on road users to be extra cautious on the road, saying such accidents can be avoided if drivers can obey traffic regulations.
“It is painful to see so many people losing their lives on the road. This accident is one major fatal crash after a long time in the province. Police are already investigating this accident and we will also be conducting an engineering investigation on the stretch of road where the accident occurred. This will assist in improving safety measures if needed. Road safety is one of our priorities and we are going to work hard to promote a safer road environment in the province. We want to ensure effective road safety campaigns and enforcement operations 365 days. We wish to send our deepest condolences to all the affected families,” said Hlomuka.
Last week MEC Hlomuka met with the Departmental management to discuss amongst other things plans to improve road safety and traffic enforcement in the province. Part of the plans moving forward is to improve the coordination and functioning of the Road Traffic Inspectorate (RTI) and embark on aggressive awareness campaigns working with various social partners.
In the month of August alone, more than 82 002 vehicles were stopped in the province and more than 7 000 fines were issued for various defects. More than 223 vehicles were suspended.
Issued by the MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Sipho Hlomuka.