Passengers in a fully-loaded minibus taxi that collided with a speeding cash-in-transit van transporting money narrowly escaped death in Mpumalanga yesterday.
The van was apparently escaping from a heist gang which was in hot pursuit Three other vehicles were involved in the accident, and the driver of the third vehicle was taken to hospital in a critical condition.
The minibus taxi was transporting passengers from KaNyamazane township to Nelspruit when the accident happened near Tekwane South at about 6:30am.
"I was sitting in the front seat of the minibus taxi when the vehicle that was transporting money suddenly lost control and came straight towards us," said one of the passengers, Boy Dludlu.
He said the taxi driver managed to swerve to the side, but a sedan that was coming from behind was not so lucky because it collided head-on with the cash-in- transit van.
After the accident, the security guards immediately got out of their vehicle with rifles cocked and took strategic positions to guard the cash. Two white BMW sedans believed to have been trailing the cash van drove past the scene at high speed.
The guards, who refused to either identify themselves or have their pictures taken, said the occupants of the BMWs had threatened them and they were convinced that they intended to rob them.
"We were trying to speed away from the thugs because we read what their aim was, but it was unfortunate that we ended up being involved in an accident.
"We were trying to protect the cash that we were transporting," said one of the heavily-armed security guards.
The minibus taxi was slightly damaged, and when Sowetan arrived at the scene police were busy taking a statement from its driver, who was still shivering.
"Eish, I nearly died today. God is with me because that truck was going to hit the taxi head-on, but I miraculously managed to swerve and avoided a collision," said the unidentified taxi driver.
The area where the accident happened falls under the KaNyamazane policing area that President Thabo Mbeki once declared as the 14th largest crime hotspot in the country.
This led to Mbeki declaring KaNyamazane police station a Presidential Lead Project police station.