Three killed in farmworker transport crash

All law enforcement and emergency services were on the scene. File Picture: Henk Kruger / Independent Newspapers

All law enforcement and emergency services were on the scene. File Picture: Henk Kruger / Independent Newspapers

Published Dec 12, 2023


Three farmworkers died and 12 others sustained serious injuries when a truck transporting them crashed on Tuesday in Philadelphia, outside Cape Town.

A further 55 farmworkers sustained slight to moderate injuries, including the truck driver.

All emergency services responded to the scene, and the accident is being investigated by police.

Western Cape MEC for Mobility, Ricardo Mackenzie, and MEC for Agriculture, Ivan Meyer, extended their condolences to the families of the deceased.

“I am calling on farmers and producers who are transporting agri-workers to ensure the safety of their vehicles and the transportation of their workers. Agri-workers are the key to the Western Cape’s agricultural sector.

“I am also calling for a full investigation into the circumstances that led to the death and injury of farm workers. My sincere condolences go to the families and friends of the workers who have been affected by this tragic accident,” Meyer said.

Mackenzie said it was a sad day for the Western Cape.

“My deepest condolences go out to those who have lost their loved ones this morning, and to all those who have been injured and traumatised, I wish you a speedy recovery. It is devastating that, despite all our significant efforts to save lives on our province’s roads, this incident happened.

“Everyone deserves safe and dignified transport to work, to school, and the shops. Our Mobility Department is working urgently to address the challenges with transportation in the Western Cape, and we need all transport operators to do their part to ensure the safety of their passengers. It is unacceptable that men, women, and children are still transported in unsafe conditions and drivers take needless risks,” Mackenzie said.

He said it has been almost two weeks since the launch of the Festive Season Road Safety Plan, and the results have not been good when it comes to crashes and fatalities.

“We need an almighty, collective effort to turn this situation around before the busiest travel period starts. There are close to 600 Provincial Traffic Officers deployed across the Western Cape during this period, with a comprehensive programme of operations targeting speeding, drunk driving, fatigue, seatbelt use, and other critical road use actions that can make the difference between life and death.

“There will be serious consequences for those flouting the rules of the road and putting lives at risk,” Mackenzie added.

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