Free State / 18 April 2016, 1:30pm / OLIVIA EXSTRUM
Johannesburg - Ekurhuleni metro on Monday morning set up an emergency centre for families of the victims of Sunday's bus crash that killed 11 ANC supporters.
The Joint Operation Centre (JOC) is at the Palm Ridge Fire Station.
“Family members can visit the JOC or phone on 011 999 3796 to check the list of people that were on the bus,” said Ekurhuleni spokesman Themba Gadebe.
“The city has chaplains and counsellors on standby to assist family members through this trauma.”
The JOC is close to Vosloorus and Katlehong, where the passengers came from.
The bus was carrying ANC supporters from Ekurhuleni, who were returning home after attending the ANC local government election manifesto launch in Port Elizabeth at the weekend.
It crashed on the N1 between Winburg and Kroonstad in the Free State on Sunday morning, killing 11 and injuring at least 59 people.
The bus overturned and rolled several times and emergency services workers spent hours at the scene attempting to free passengers from the wreckage.
“The JOC stands ready to provide up-to-date information on the status of all passengers involved in the fatal accident including those that are still hospitalised in the Free State, and the patients that were transferred to our local hospitals,” said Vivian Chauke, Ekurhuleni’s member of the mayoral committee on community safety.
“We are happy that a bus carrying 27 patients with minor injuries arrived just after midnight. These patients were allowed to go home after observation.”
The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) expects its investigation to take about two weeks.
RTMC spokesperson Simon Zwane said this would culminate in a report that would determine whether any criminal charges would be brought.
Zwane said the accident occurred at about 9am on the N1 about 25km from Winburg.
There have been allegations that the bus veered out of control because the drivers were taking turns operating the vehicle, but Zwane said he hadn't received reports of this and the investigation was ongoing and would look at all possible factors.
Zwane said the two bus drivers assigned to the bus suffered minor injuries but were not hospitalised.
“We will send investigators to establish the facts,” Zwane said.
“The investigators will look into all factors associated with the crash that includes environmental factors, vehicular factors. And we will look into the human factors.
“We are not presuming anything. We don't know anything. We were not in the vehicle.”
On Sunday, the Free State Department of Health said in a Facebook post that driver fatigue could have been the problem.
On Monday morning Mondli Mvambi, spokesperson for the Free State Department of Health, said of the 59 injured, 13 were treated at Bongani Hospital, 10 of whom were discharged on Sunday night and transported to Gauteng. Winburg Hospital treated 29 patients, 28 of whom were discharged.
Katleho Hospital treated 12 patients, six of them discharged while the other six were transported to Fezi Ngubentombi Hospital in the Free State and then taken to Gauteng for further treatment.
Boitumelo Hospital took in four patients, one of whom was then taken to Pelonomi Hospital, and one patient is at Netcare Kroon Hospital.
Zwane said the 11 dead had not yet been identified.