Truck owner and farmer also to blame
MINISTER of Public Enterprise Malusi Gigaba and other speakers at the funeral of 24 train accident victims said the burden of the crash should not be carried solely by the truck driver.
Gigaba, Deputy Minister of Transport Sindisiwe Chikunga, Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza and MEC for safety, security and liaison Vusi Shongwe called for the farmer and the owner of the truck that carried the people to work to also be arrested.
Said Gigaba: "The blood that was shed and the lives that were lost are placed in the the hands of (the farmer and truck owner).
"The accident was caused by recklessness. It could have been prevented had the people took decisions not been reckless.
"The Government must intervene so that people do not continue dying because of recklessness. The farmer and truck owner must be arrested and convicted."
Provincial police spokesman Colonel Leonard Hlathi said yesterday that police investigations were continuing. "Police will leave no stone unturned. The forensic lab is looking at the truck to determine certain things." Hlathi said.
"We are looking into all aspects in our investigation and heads will roll."
Meanwhile Deputy Minister Chikunga said the department was engaging with Transnet to explore ways of making level crossings safer.
"Motorists must remember that the train has 100% right of way at a level crossing and should stop when they approach one," she said. "A train can't slow down but a car can.
"We are also looking into installing boom gates at level crossing and we will have people to open them for motorists."
She said there were 3,115 legal railway level crossings in the country and a thousand more illegal ones.
- A dark cloud hanged over Kamhlushwa Stadium near Tonga on Saturday during the victims' funeral service.
The 24 farmworkers died after a truck they were travelling in was hit by a train at a level crossing on the N4 Highway in Hectorspruit near Malelane last Friday.
The families of the deceased were already seated when the coffins were brought into the stadium.
Loud cries and screams were the order of the day.
Relatives and close friends of the deceased collapsed and had to be attended to by paramedics.
Before the service had even started, paramedics had attended to about 40 people who had collapsed.
Queen of Gospel Rebecca Malope brought comfort to the families and community with her performance.
Gospel group Avante and gospel star Sipho "Big Fish" Makhabane also performed at the service.
The Mpumalanga provincial government has open an account to assist the deceased's families and survivors. - email@example.com