World Food Day driver 'may have been drunk'

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

The driver of the World Food Day bus that was involved in an accident that left four people dead and scores injured appeared in the Graskop magistrates' court on Monday.

The 47-year-old driver was not asked to plead on four counts of culpable homicide and one of driving under the influence of liquor.

He was granted R2000 bail, pending his next court appearance on November 27.

Lowveld police spokesman Superintendent Mtsholi Mhembe said: "We are looking into the possibility of his alcohol level having been above the legal limit."

The bus was transporting passengers returning home from the World Food Day celebrations at Matibidi, near Graskop, on October 17.

Passengers said the bus driver missed a curve near the Kowyn Pass and drove into a mountain gorge.

Three people died on the spot while nearly 40 injured passengers were taken to Sabie Hospital from where some of them, including the driver, were transferred to other Mpumalanga hospitals.

A fourth victim died at the Robs Ferreira Hospital a few days later.

Many of the survivors claimed that the bus driver was drunk when the accident occurred.

Some of the survivors have since been discharged from hospital but others are still receiving medical treatment.

Premier Thabang Makwetla, agriculture and land administration MEC Madala Masuku, Ehlanzeni mayor Khosi Mkhonto and provincial officials recently visited the survivors in hospital to offer their moral support.