In another twist involving the public protector’s office‚ the Minister of Co-operative Governance an.
Alfred Moselakgomo and Riot Hlatshwayo
Hundreds of mourners gathered in Piet Retief, Mpumalanga, on Saturday to pay their respects to victims of the bus crash that left more than 30 people dead.
The victims, mostly farm workers and including two children, died after the bus in which they were travelling plunged from a bridge last week.
Mpumalanga Premier Thabang Makwetla, roads and transport MEC, Jackson Mthembu and local mayor Mary Khumalo attended the funeral.
Makwetla said more than 900 people had died in road accidents in Mpumalanga since the beginning of the year.
The bus was carrying commuters from a shopping spree in Piet Retief last Tuesday to a local farm where they worked.
Speaking at the funeral at Mandla Magudulela Stadium in Piet Retief Makwetla acknowledged that the government had not done enough to provide a safe public transport system.
"This tragedy must spur us on to realise an affordable and safe public transport system," he said.
Twenty-nine coffins were placed in front of the mourners in a highly emotional ceremony.
Mthembu said owners of unroadworthy vehicles, which resulted in accidents, should be charged if their drivers were found guilty of negligence.
"Fining only the driver while the vehicles' owners go unpunished must not be allowed," he said.
Mthembu said his department had opened an academy in Bushbuckridge to train its own traffic officers. Mpumalanga has a shortage of about 751 qualified traffic officers.
The MEC said the shortage of staff contributed to many "ills" on the roads and posed a challenge to reduce road fatalities in the run-up to the 2010 Soccer World Cup and beyond.
A trust account has been opened to help victims of the crash. Contributions can be deposited in the Absa Piet Retief Bus Disaster Fund, savings account number 921 251 9430, branch code 632005.