PUTCO has taken restorative justice to another level in making amends to the families of the six people who died when one of its buses caught alight with passengers inside. | Dumisani Dube
PUTCO has taken restorative justice to another level in making amends to the families of the six people who died when one of its buses caught alight with passengers inside. | Dumisani Dube

Families of Putco bus fire victims to get 100k once off, R10k monthly and a job for one relative

By Botho Molosankwe Time of article published Jun 3, 2021

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Johannesburg - Putco has taken restorative justice to another level in making amends to the families of the six people who died when one of its buses caught alight with passengers inside.

This comes after the bus company, Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane, MEC for Community Safety, Security and Liaison Vusi Shongwe, Nkangala District Municipality mayor Sarah Masilela and Thembisile Hani Local Municipality mayor Nomsa Mtsweni were involved in a six-hour meeting to find a way of making it up to the victims.

During the meeting, Mtshweni-Tsipane said it was important for the bus company to take responsibility for the tragedy and do right by the families, and Putco agreed to the following:

– To give each family of the deceased R100 000 towards funeral expenses

– To replace the earnings of the deceased and the injured with a monthly contribution of R10 000 a family pending finalisation of Road Accident Fund (RAF) processes or the payment from the public liability insurance fund. However, if the deceased used to get a R2 500 salary, that is what their family will get while they’re still waiting for a payout from the RAF, but the ceiling is R10 000.

– To consider employment opportunities for one family member of each of the deceased families.

– To move four critically injured commuters to Milpark Private Hospital with full medical expenses amounting to R1 million a patient to be incurred by the bus company.

– All commuters who were involved in the incident and their immediate families to receive post-accident trauma counselling provided by Putco with bi-annual reports to be submitted to Mpumalanga and Gauteng provincial governments.

– To assist all the families with Road Accident Fund or Public Liability Insurance applications.

– To provide two buses per family for the funerals.

According to RAF’s William Maphutha, it takes about two and half years for a claim to be paid out if a person claims directly with them. However, if it done with the assistance of a lawyer, the claim could take up to four and half years. This means that Putco may have to keep paying the families for about four years if lawyers are involved in the claims.

The bus, carrying 63 passengers, was travelling from Marabastad to Tweefontein in Mpumalanga when it caught alight two weeks ago.

The terrified passengers stampeded to get out of the burning bus.

The premier said those people who died were residents of Mpumalanga Province, bread winners and mostly women.

“Most importantly, they were mothers who had no choice but to board that bus in order to put food on the table for their children.”

Putco’s Matlakala Motloung said they had already provided trauma counselling to all the people who were in the bus.

With regards to moving patients to a private hospital, Motloung said there was only one patient in a government hospital and that person was currently at Steve Biko Academic Hospital.

“The other is in Montana and another one in Milpark. The movement of injured patients will depend on permission being granted by the doctor treating the patient, the patient’s consent and the receiving doctor/availability of hospital beds,” she said.

She also stated that they had initially committed to buying R5 000 grocery vouches for 12 months for each family. However, it was revealed during the meeting that the family preferred money so they agreed to give them what the breadwinner was earning. | IOL

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