DANGERS OF AN OVERLOADED BAKKIE: 10 people were killed in a horrific bakkie crash. A screengrab shows eight people on a bakkie travelling at 120km/h. Image: LES STEPHENSON
MHLABUYALINGANA, kwaZulu-Natal - Yet another 14 people have died, 10 in one crash and four in another, because there has been no crackdown on carrying people in open bakkies.
The worst at the weekend was near Mhlabuyalingan, KZN, where 10 people died including one child, when a bakkie was in a collision with a truck.
The provincial transport department said on Monday (Dec 1) the vehicle had no roadworthy certificate and "it became clear to us when we saw the wreckage of the bakkie that it was not in good condition".
Those were the words of head of department Sibusiso Gumbi, who visited the scene of the crash on the R22 in northern KwaZulu-Natal.
To which Wheels24 can only say: "Then why did traffic officers, if the vehicle was in such bad condition, not pull it off the road. Responsibility for the deaths of 10 people, including a nine-year-old, belongs as much with the authorities as with the driver."
VIDEO: Overloaded bakkie caught on N7
The crash happened at about 7pm on Sunday, according to hospital services spokesman Robert McKenzie, with nine killed in the crash and another later, presumably in hospital. Five appear to be from the same family.Gumbi said an inspection revealed that the road's condition could have not been a factor. The KZN transport department named those killed as Thembani Nsele, nine, Nkosinathi Zikhali, 40, Khethabakhe Zikhali, 36, Bhekizenzo Zikhali, 35, Bheki Ncamphalala, 36, Thulile Zikhali, 36, Amandla Manuza, 24, Sithembiso Mlambo, 26, Sithembiso Zikhali, 35, and Bhekiyise Gumede, 35.
BREAKING THE LAW
The province said it would help the families with the funeral expenses. Wheels24 says it would have been better if its officials had done their jobs properly in the first place. That way a number of children would still have both parents - and a nine-year-old would have continued to look forward to Christmas.
Once again, Wheels24 implores authorities across South Africa to get off their backsides and enforce laws that prohibit the carriage of humans on open bakkies. Or perhaps they don't mind the growing volume of blood that is on their hands?
• On Monday (Dec 1), African National Congress provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala said in a statement: "On behalf of the entire ANC membership in kwaZulu-Natal, I wish to send our heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives in this horrific accident."
National Freedom Part leader in the province, Zanele KaMagwaza-Msibi, added his thoughts via Sapa: "Losing so many people at one go is terrible. While we do not have the details of what exactly happened we wish to urge motorists to be vigilant."
Wheels24 says: Empty words from political leaders as provincial legislators across the country continue to allow adults and children to risk their lives - as the 14 dead in these two crashes show.