inquiry into crash

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

The KwaZulu-Natal transport department says tests will be conducted to establish whether the bus and bakkie involved in Saturday's horrific road crash at Ulundi, in northern Zululand, were roadworthy.

Ten people were killed and 33 injured when a double- decker Greyhound bus and a bakkie collided head-on at the intersection of the R66 and R34.

Ten of the injured passengers are still in a critical condition at various hospitals in the area. The head of the provincial transport department, Chris Hlabisa, who visited the scene of the accident, described it as "horrific".

He said eight people who died had been in a bakkie, while the other two had been in the bus.

"Some bus passengers were trapped underneath the vehicle. The bakkie was so damaged you could hardly say it was a vehicle," Hlabisa said.

Hlabisa said initial indications were that the bakkie failed to stop at the intersection: "The bus was travelling from Gauteng to Richard's Bay when it was involved in an accident with the bakkie. There is an intersection, but it seems the bakkie did not stop. It then collided with the bus and rolled down an embankment into a nearby game park. We will leave no stone unturned in getting to the bottom of the cause of the incident. We will conduct a forensic investigation," Hlabisa said.

Zanele Magwaza-Msibi, Zululand district mayor and national chairman of the IFP, said that a day before the incident two cars had collided head-on and burst into flames.

"Six people who were in both cars died at the scene and within 12 hours, we got the sad news of this bakkie and bus accident. Ulundi is in mourning," said Magwaza-Msibi.

She said what was worse about the accident was that some of the victims would be unidentifiable because of their injuries.

"There was a headless body of a child that was lying beneath the wrecks. It was the worst incident we have witnessed in Ulundi in a long time. We urge motorists to be vigilant and cautious when driving because one person's mistake can cause many people to lose their lives. We will try to see if there are any among the dead who were from our district. We will help with funeral arrangements," said Magwaza-Msibi.

Yesterday, a delegation from the provincial legislature, led by transport portfolio chairman Ormie Singh, visited the scene and the victims at various hospitals.

MEC for agriculture and environmental affairs Mtholephi Mthimkhulu said: "The ANC urges the provincial department of transport to speed up the investigation into the exact cause of this devastating crash. We call on all road users to be vigilant to prevent such accidents."