Prayers held at fatal crash sites
In the wake of recent fatal accidents on provincial roads, mostly involving buses, Mpumalanga government officials have held a prayer service appealing for divine intervention.
The service in KaNyamazane, Nelspruit, was led by Roads and Transport MEC Jackson Mthembu, Mbombela municipality mayor Lassy Chiwayo and church leaders.
The group also visited two sites where accidents had occurred four months ago.
They started at Marloth Park on the N4, where 18 people died in a crash when a bus veered off the road, hit a tree and burst into flames.
The dignitaries also visited an accident spot on the R40 road between White River and Nelspruit. This is where 12 people died when their bus went out of control and overturned.
At the stadium people attending the prayer meeting were entertained by gospel artists, including Rebecca Malope.
When the entourage returned a number of speakers from various churches, the taxi industry, South African Bus Operators Association and Mpumalanga Provincial Taxi Council spoke to the public about road safety issues.
In his keynote address at the event Mthembu highlighted statistics on road fatalities in the province. He said his department had managed to reduce fatalities from 1445 in 2006-07 to 1215 in 2007-08 despite the huge increase in traffic volumes.
"From January 2008 to July 2008, 417 people have died on the province's roads because of disrespect for road regulations," he said.
"We're not only going to pray but we will pray and educate our people. The department deployed 84 traffic officers in 2007, 130 started working on August 1 and 276 are still in training."