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Western Cape - The bus that crashed and killed 24 passengers had several certification problems, a preliminary investigation has found.
Western Cape Transport and Public Works MEC Robin Carlisle ordered an investigation immediately after the Atlantic City Liners double-decker crashed into the mountainside on the Hex River Pass on Friday morning.
Carlisle said the investigation would include addressing four main concerns:
* Was there a proper operating licence?
* Was the licence of the driver correct?
* Was the vehicle roadworthy?
* What was the safety history of the company that owned the bus, as well as that of the vehicle testing centre that tested the bus?
Carlisle said on Sunday that a preliminary investigation had established that the bus’s roadworthy certificate had not been renewed, as it ought to have been by law.
Second, the operating licence had been issued on December 25 – a day on which the Provincial Regulatory Entity’s offices had been closed.
Carlisle said this required a closer investigation.
Third, Carlisle said the previous, now-expired roadworthy certificate had involved equipment owned by another testing station, which had been closed down for fraud.
This, too, required further investigation.
He was especially concerned about the roadworthiness process since he had recently been given an in-depth report by consultants in which they alleged widespread fraud at testing stations across the country.
The Provincial Regulatory Entity will be investigating the legal status of the bus.
Atlantic Charters and Tours legal representative Shaheid Schrueder told the Cape Argus on Sunday that he could not comment on the investigation while it was ongoing.
The Cape Town-based company that owns the bus has been operating nationally for about 20 years.
Schrueder said Friday’s crash was the first of its kind in the company’s history.
According to Schrueder, company records of the bus driver – killed in the crash – described him as a “very experienced driver”.
There were 80 passengers on board the bus, most of them women members of the Twelve Apostles Church in Christ in Khayelitsha, returning from a national women’s gathering in Secunda.
On Sunday, representatives from Atlantic City Liners met members of the church and the families of those who were killed or injured in the bus crash to offer their support.
In total, 24 people were killed, 14 were seriously injured and 44 others sustained minor injuries after the bus smashed into the mountainside.
There were still 16 people receiving treatment in hospital on Sunday, including a three-year-old girl, but Western Cape Health Department spokeswoman Faiza Steyn said they were all in a stable condition.
The families who travelled to Worcester to identify the bodies of the dead on Saturday and were turned away as forensic examinations had not yet been completed, were expected to return to Khayelitsha this morning.
Western Cape forensic pathology spokesman Zolani Zenzile said the forensic investigations had been completed on Sunday and the doors of the Khayelitsha Recreation Centre would open at 7.30am to allow families to identify the bodies.