Durban — It has been questioned whether potholes could have caused the tyre burst that resulted in the vehicle transporting KwaZulu-Natal Transport, Community Safety and Liaison MEC Peggy Nkonyeni and her protectors crashing on the R66 outside uLundi on Tuesday.
The MEC had earlier attended an engagement between Premier Sihle Zikalala and His Majesty King Misuzulu kaZwelithini.
Nkonyeni was on her way to Dannhauser Local Municipality, where she was going to launch a youth economic empowerment programme that will see more than 4 000 young people employed by the Department of Transport.
Nkonyeni and her protectors were being treated in hospital.
In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Boysey Gumede shared a picture of potholes and two pictures of the crash.
In the post, written in Zulu, Gumede suggested that Nkonyeni might have “got a taste of her own medicine”.
Gumede said it was reported that the crash involving the MEC occurred after a tyre on the vehicle she was travelling in burst while she was coming from uLundi.
“Could it be that the burst was because of the potholes belonging to her department? Could this mean that she had a taste of her own medicine?”
Gumede wished the MEC and her protectors a speedy recovery, after which they should return to close up the potholes.
Department spokesperson Thuba Vilane said the department knew there was a pothole problem in many areas of the province, and that is why the department launched Operation Vala’mapitholes last month.
Vilane said that some of the 4 000 youth deployed to conduct repairs in flood-damaged areas and in projects to upgrade ageing infrastructure, would help to fill potholes.
“On the accident, I cannot comment because we are waiting on the investigation. All we know was that the car had a tyre burst,” Vilane said.
Participants in the Vukayibambe Routine Road Maintenance programme fixed potholes in Dannhauser Local Municipality as part of the official launch of the youth programme on Tuesday.
The programme is aimed at training young people to undertake minor repairs and road maintenance. This includes pothole patching, road marking, grass cutting and other related activities. Priority will be given to flood-damaged infrastructure, and roads (black top and gravel) that have reached the end of their lifespan. The programme is currently being rolled out in all districts.
There have been a number of crashes resulting in mass casualties on the R66 in recent months.
An infant was among five people killed on the R66 in Eshowe, northern KwaZulu-Natal, on June 7, 2022.
According to the KZN Department of Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, reports suggest that at around 5.30pm, a minibus taxi collided with a Ford Ranger, instantly killing five occupants of the minibus taxi. Among the deceased were two women, two men and the infant. Four more people sustained critical to serious injuries, and they were rushed to the nearby hospital for further medical care.
In November 2021, four people were killed and 26 sustained injuries ranging from critical to minor after two minibus taxis collided.