Durban – Six young women attending a preparatory event in the lead-up to the annual reed dance died and nine others were injured when a minibus taxi crashed and caught alight on Saturday night, the KwaZulu-Natal arts and culture department has confirmed.
The accident took place in Pomeroy, in the vicinity of Greytown. It is alleged that the driver of the minibus taxi lost control of the vehicle and crashed, after which it caught alight. According to Arts and Culture MEC Hlengiwe Mvimbela, some of the deceased were “burned beyond recognition”.
The young women were travelling from the Siyaya eMhlangeni event held at Pomeroy. The event is a prelude to the annual reed dance, hosted by King Goodwill Zwelithini.
The nine injured people were transported to the Church of Scotland Hospital at Tugela Ferry, seven of them with serious burn wounds. They were later expected to be transported to a Pietermaritzburg area hospital.
“We are saddened by the incident where we lost six innocent lives. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families during this difficult time. Officials from the department have been on the scene since the accident happened and have been working with police to help identify victims and notify families,” Mvimbela said on Sunday.
She said senior officials from the department had been dispatched to visit the affected families. Arts and culture was working with the department of social development to ensure those affected received counselling.
Mavimbela also called on taxi associations to “exercise caution” when transporting maidens to events like Siyaya eMhlangeni.
“We urge drivers to exercise caution on the roads, especially at this period when maidens will be travelling to various places to prepare for uMkhosi Womhlanga which will take place from September 6 to 7.”
“The department of arts and culture will continue working with the transport department to ensure that transport travelling to Nongoma is checked for road worthiness to avoid incidents like these from happening,” she said.
African News Agency (ANA)