Grader case puts focus on foreigners

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Copy of Copy of NM Verulam 3 grader THE MERCURY Clothing items of the four children who were killed by a tractor are placed next to candles.

Durban - The accident in which a grader crushed four young cousins last month has raised the question of how to mitigate the risk of foreigners committing crimes in the country and then leaving.

The issue was raised by Transport MEC Willies Mchunu on Tuesday at a transport portfolio committee meeting at the KwaZulu-Natal legislature after a report was presented on the tragedy, which happened outside Verulam.

The driver of the grader, a Zimbabwean, fled.

Mchunu said police were working with Interpol to find him.

The most important question is: how safe are the people of South Africa from road accidents caused by drivers who have homes elsewhere?”

Mchunu said that in the case of Shrien Dewani, from Britain – who allegedly orchestrated the murder of his wife Anni, 28, on the Cape Town leg of their honeymoon in November 2010 – it had taken more than three years for him to be extradited to face justice.

“That’s the dilemma of having to deal with people who are citizens of other countries.”

Mchunu said the department would be engaging with trucking and construction companies about the risks of people committing crimes and running away.

The accident report said Aqua Transport and Plant Hire had been appointed to regravel 5km of the P521 road outside Verulam which services the Oxford, Ndwedwe and surrounding areas.

On March 25, after 4pm, the grader crushed the Magwaza cousins, Hlengiwe, 11, Zanele, 4, and Busisani, 2, who died at the scene, and 4-year-old Langelihle, who died in hospital.

Immediately afterwards, the driver, who had been working for the company for more than a year, ran away.

The grader has been impounded. All documents relating to it have been found to be in order.

The report said that the maintenance work was done under traffic conditions with minimum interruption to the public.

All work on the site has been stopped until the investigation is completed.

The Mercury

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