Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
Thirteen Zimbabweans were killed on Monday afternoon when a Masmery bus overturned outside Makhado town in Limpopo Province.
The incident occurred along the N1 Highway, which is one of the major commercial roads that link South Africa and the rest of SADC. However, details of the bus’ destination and number of the injured are yet to be ascertained. A member of Limpopo’s executive committee responsible for Transport and Community Safety Makoma Makhurupetje said in a statement yesterday that the accident was devastating.
“I want to extend my her heartfelt condolences to the families of 13 Zimbabwean nationals who died late yesterday afternoon when the driver of the bus they were travelling in lost control and overturned on the N1 north, near the Ingwe Hotel in Makhado.
“I also wishing a speedy recovery to 13 others who were injured during the crash,” she said.
She added that no conclusive evidence had been found which points out to the exact cause of the accident although they could not rule out reckless driving.
“We are deeply concerned about accidents involving buses as they lead to more loss of lives compared to ordinary vehicles.
“The competence of driver and vehicle fitness of cross border buses is also a matter of deep concern to us, as this is almost the third time now that we are losing lives because of long distance buses,” said the MEC.
She said it was high time the law enforcement officers stepped up their routine checks on long distance buses to avoid the recurrence of road carnages.
She also encouraged bus drivers and other drivers of buses and other public transport to rest in between trips to avoid issues of fatigue.
The incident comes a few months after nine Zimbabweans were killed in a road accident in Polokwane when a bus they were travelling in overturned.
The N1 Highway has become a death trap with over 40 people including Zimbabweans and Malawians have died in accidents in the last eight months.
Limpopo’s Department of Transport spokesperson Mrs Matome Moremi-Taueatsoala said: “The Road Accident Fund (RAF) and the Department of Health will be working with the Zimbabwe Consulate to identify the bodies.
“In addition, RAF will bear the repatriation costs.”