KZN horror taxi crash death toll rises to 16
Durban: MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison Bheki Ntuli, has urged motorists to be vigilant on the roads. This comes after 16 people were killed in a crash on the R34 between Melmoth and Ulundi on Wednesday morning.
According to reports, at around 8am, a minibus taxi and a truck collided head-on. The taxi caught alight and 15 people, including an unborn baby, died at the scene.
Three victims from the taxi were burnt beyond recognition and DNA tests will be conducted to authenticate the remains of the deceased.
Ntuli has called on the authorities to intervene in order to fast-track the process of investigation.
“This accident is one of the most gruesome accidents I have ever experienced because 16 people perished, including a pregnant woman who delivered a stillborn infant on the scene. It pains me that families had to lose their loved ones especially during October Transport Month, as we are busy conducting service delivery activities which includes launching high-impact infrastructure projects in various parts of the province that are key in unlocking economic opportunities," Ntuli said.
He said road safety across all modes of transport is a top priority and working with all spheres of government.
"We will implement interventions to improve legislation, intensifying law enforcement operations across the province and promote driver behavioural change through road safety awareness campaigns. These interventions are intended to end the carnage on our roads," he said.
He added that investigations into the cause of accident will focus on the roadworthiness of both vehicles, the weather condition at the time of the accident and other causal factors that could have led to the accident.
"However, it is crucial for road users to be cognizant of the factors that contribute to road carnages such as speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. We are committed to ending road carnage and will continue to ensure road safety in the province through strategic traffic enforcement, education and robust community engagement," he said.
Ntuli said government will work with local municipalities will assist the families of the victims with funeral arrangements and psychosocial services.
KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala has expressed his condolences to the families of the deceased.
"We are deeply concerned about the accident which happens while we are still licking our wounds following another horrific accident in which the same number of people were killed. As the provincial government, we wish to convey our deepest condolences to the families of the people, including an unborn baby, who died so tragically today," he said. | IOL