There is nothing normal about 14 000 people dying in South African road accidents every year, deputy transport minister Sindisiwe Chikunga said on Wednesday.
‘We must join hands and wage a fierce offensive against road carnage, as each one of us has a responsibility to ensure that our roads are safe,’ said Chikunga. She was speaking in Sebokeng, at a mass memorial service held for the 20 people who died in a bus accident in Meyerton last month.
The initial death toll was 19, but another passenger died on Tuesday from injuries suffered in the crash.
Chikunga said the government was responsible for the necessary legislation to ensure safety on our roads.
‘However, we will not succeed if we do not get the buy-in and support of members of the public.’
A Putco bus driver lost control of his vehicle on the R59 outside Meyerton, in the Vaal Triangle on June 25.
It crashed through a bridge railing and fell 10 metres to the ground, landing on its side. Fifty-five people were injured, three of them critically. The driver was among those killed.
The bus was reportedly among eight Putco buses taken off the road after it failed a June 12 roadworthy test at the Meyerton testing station.
After conflicting roadworthy test outcomes were released by the Sedibeng municipality, Putco promised on Friday to ‘scrupulously’ investigate reports that the bus was unroadworthy,
A preliminary investigation showed the bus failed one roadworthiness test, but passed another at sport complex.
The last victim died at the eve of the memorial service.
People came in numbers from all the directions of the Vaal. The memorial service was attended by officials from Putco, government, Sedibeng district municipality, Emfuleni local municipality, Lesedi municipality, local church members, musicians, a well as family members and friends of the victims.
A lot of questions have been asked about the roadworthiness of the ill fated bus. The Gauteng Legislature Roads and Transport Portfolio Committee Chair Nomantu Ralehoko has also raised concern about Putco buses road-worthiness.
“Commuters were telling us that most of the Putco buses are not roadworthy. They were saying it’s a pity that we never get to ride in those buses, they also showed us pictures that show the buses are not road worthy,” said Ralehoko. -SAPA