Crash claims scam foiled

Given Mahlalela

Given Mahlalela

The company whose bus was involved in an accident in which 12 commuters died, has warned accident victims to be wary of wolves in sheep's clothing.

The bus company, Buscor, issued the warning after it received a number of calls from commuters informing it about an alleged scam to defraud some of the injured passengers admitted to hospitals in the province.

It is alleged that tricksters claiming to be from Buscor went to certain crash victims and deceived them into filling in forms for third-party claims.

"We don't have such people in our company," said company spokesman John Ngombe. "As far as I know officials from the Road Accident Fund (RAF) will be dealing with this matter soon, and not Buscor.

"We are devastated over the accident. This is the first accident of this magnitude since we began operating 23 years ago.".

Department of roads and transport spokesman Vukani Mnyandu confirmed that officials from the RAF would today help families of the deceased register for accident claims.

"We are inviting relatives of the deceased to come with certified ID copies to Nelspruit at the RAF's offices," Mnyandu said.

The accident, in which 12 passengers died, happened on Wednesday morning on the R40 road between Nelspruit and White River.

Mpumalanga roads and transport MEC David Mabuza expressed shock and sent his condolences to the bereaved families.

Mabuza visited the Rob Ferreira Hospital on the day of the accident and joined a number of people comforting relatives and survivors.

The accident left 23 people seriously injured and 62 others with minor injuries.

The double-coach bus was carrying about 100 passengers when it hit a pavement.

Bystanders blamed the accident on the driver. Others blamed the crash on passengers, who, they claimed, were chatting with the driver and causing him to lose control.

But police said the cause of the carnage was still unknown and that a high-level investigation was in progress.