Zim bus overturns in SA – 2 killed 48 injured in 2 accidents
By Thupeyo Muleya/Whinsley Masara/Nqobile Tshili
One Zimbabwean was killed and 34 others were injured, two of them seriously when the driver of a Munhenzwa bus they were travelling in lost control, resulting in the vehicle overturning near Tweefontein area, some 20km outside Polokwane in South Africa yesterday.
The accident occurred at around 4.30 AM along South Africa’s N1 highway.
Limpopo’s Department of Transport spokesperson, Mr Joshua Kwapa, said the injured were taken to Polokwane Government Hospital and the deceased’s body was taken to the same hospital’s mortuary.
He said investigations into the accident were underway, although they suspect that human error and fatigue caused the crash.
Mr Kwapa said the deceased’s relatives were yet to be advised.
“Further investigations are in progress, but indications are that the driver of a Munhenzwa bus lost control near Tweefontein area. As a result the bus overturned and killed one person on the spot. The driver and another passenger were seriously injured, while 32 others incurred minor injuries. They have been rushed to Polokwane Government Hospital for treatment,” he said.
Mr Kwapa said they were worried with the recurrence of road accidents related to fatigue and human error.
He said motorists should plan their trips properly and rest at regular intervals.
“We suspect this accident is a result of fatigue on the part of the driver. As the Department of Transport, we want to discourage drivers from forcing matters especially those on long journeys. We advise them to rest for 15 minutes at regular intervals or even after every 200km,” said Mr Kwapa.
The N1 highway is one of the busiest roads which links South Africa with the rest of Sadc countries through Zimbabwe.
Yesterday, the International Crossborder Traders’ Association president, Mr Denis Juru said it was saddening to record another fatal road accident involving a bus carrying cross- borders, a week after another one killed 43 people in Nyamakate area of Hurungwe in Mashonaland West province.
“When ICTA contacted officials of the Munenzwa Bus Company, they said that bus was new and it was it is third trip to South Africa. We encourage bus companies to give drivers enough time to rest since accidents are happening as a result of fatigue,” Mr Juru.
On Wednesday, the director of the Civil Protection Unit Mr Nathan Nkomo said they had sent a request to Government to ban night driving for public transport vehicles.
In Bulawayo yesterday, one person died while 14 others were injured when a vehicle they were travelling in rammed into a tree after its front-left wheel came off.
The accident occurred at about 4PM along the Bulawayo-Harare Road, near One Brigade Barracks.
The vehicle which was heading to Shangani had 15 people, including the driver on-board when the accident occurred.
Bulawayo Chief Fire Officer Mr Richard Peterson said one passenger was trapped inside the vehicle for some time.
“I don’t have finer details at the moment but the information I received through our radio system is that one person died on the spot while 14 others were injured and rushed to the city’s hospitals. One person was trapped in the vehicle so our fire brigade team had to cut the vehicle to rescue the passenger,” said Mr Peterson.
A Chronicle news crew visited the scene of the accident where it observed emergency services conducting the rescue mission.
The body of the deceased which had not been removed was covered with a blanket.
An emergency services official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “Looking at the impact, the driver could have been speeding.”
Scores of motorists parked their vehicles to get information on what caused the accident. Others were busy taking photos with their cellphones. The Chronicle