Cape Town - The secretary of the African National Congress in the Western Cape, Faiez Jacobs, has condemned the conduct of the bakkie driver involved in a fatal collision with a train.
Seven men lost their lives when the bakkie they were travelling in was hit by a train at the Buttskop level crossing in Blackheath, Cape Town on Friday.
"Our understanding is that the train had the right of way and the truck thought it could pass the railway crossing before the train could pass, following other cars that had passed despite not having right of way.
"The ANC sends a stern warning to drivers who are carrying others in their vehicles, particularly taxis and truck drivers not to gamble with other people's lives. People who lose their lives are never party to these reckless decisions but end up paying the high price," he said in a statement.
Earlier on Friday, the United National Transport Union (Untu) urged motorists to exercise caution when crossing railway lines.
In a statement on Friday, the Union expressed its distress after the incident which happened early Friday morning.
“It is horrific that innocent lives of workers are lost because the driver did not take caution at the level crossing. Untu cannot emphasise the importance of looking before crossing a level crossing enough and have warned motorists about the dangers thereof repeatedly in the past,” said Steve Harris, general secretary of Untu.
In 2010, ten children died at the same crossing when a train collided with the taxi they were travelling in.
The driver, Jacob Humphreys, was sentenced to 20 years behind bars in December 2011 for his role in their deaths, but on appeal the sentence was reduced to eight years.
“Depending on the speed, a train will only come to a complete standstill when it applies its emergency break procedure in between 500 metres and one kilometre. There is nothing a train driver can do to prevent a collision if a motorist does not take caution,” said Harris.
Untu called on authorities to punish drivers found guilty of causing such accidents.
Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Andre Traut said the victims of Friday morning's accident were all in their thirties and its believed they were on their way to work.
"The circumstances of the accident are still being investigated," he said.
The City of Cape Town's traffic department said the train and the bakkie wreckage has since been cleared at the crossing.
African News Agency/ANA