113 injured in bus accident near Pretoria

A hundred and thirteen people were injured in a four-bus pile-up on the Moloto Road, north of Pretoria, on Monday. The accident happened at a depot where three of the buses were stopped when a fourth bus hit one bus from behind, causing each to ram the vehicle in front of it.

The Mpumalanga roads and transport department will meet the Putco Bus company to discuss the condition of some of the company’s buses, provincial minister Fish Mahlalela said.

“We are going to meet with the bus owners to discuss ways to improve the way Putco carries our people,” Mahlalela told the South African Press Association on Monday.

Over the weekend, 13 people died and 71 were seriously injured when a bus collided with two vehicles on the same road.

Mahlalela said the bus that caused Monday’s pile-up was unroadworthy. “The bus was not in a state to be used to carry our people.”

Mahlalela said both accidents could have been avoided if the drivers followed the rules of the road and the buses were in a roadworthy condition.

He said bus and taxi owners must make sure that their vehicles are roadworthy before they transport people.

Putco spokesperson Andrew Sefala said it was unfortunate for the provincial minister to make such comments because it has not been proven that the condition of the buses was the cause of both accidents.

He said the company had not been able to get the actual cause of Monday’s accident because the driver of the bus that caused the accident was injured.

“The speed limit on that road is 60kph, but we suspect he was travelling at a speed higher than that,” Sefala said.

Sefala said of the weekend’s accident that the bus was hit by another vehicle, and then the driver lost control.
“It was not because the bus was unroadworthy.”

He said Putco would appoint an independent investigator to determine the cause of both accidents, and also stated that the company was looking forward to Tuesday’s meeting with Mahlalela.

“We will present to the MEC [provincial minister] what we are doing to prevent such incidents from happening. We subscribe to Arrive Alive and we will work with the government to ensure road safety.”

On Monday, Mahlalela visited the survivors of the four-bus pile-up at KwaMhlanga hospital. He later went to KwaMhlanga Stadium where he launched the province’s Easter Arrive Alive road-safety campaign.

He said the campaign includes the visibility of police on the roads and awareness of road users.

“Drivers need to know that it is not them alone who use our roads. They need to respect each other and be patient. Most importantly, they must not speed because speeding is the cause of most accidents on our roads.”

Of those injured on Monday, only four were seriously hurt.—Sapa

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