The African National Congress (ANC) in Gauteng has released the names of its members who died in a bus crash in the Free State while traveling back from the party’s local government elections manifesto launch held in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape.
Gauteng provincial executive committee member and Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane said the ten victims, who were all adults, would be transported from the Free State to the Germiston mortuary on Tuesday.
The ten deceased, all members of the ANC from the Ekurhuleni region, are Tiisetso Tselo, Sesi Mtshali, Sana Sibeko, Mphikeleli Malindi, Gugulethu Sithole, Vusi Nkabinde, Daphney Linda, Sicelo Kheswa, Sphamandla Gedle and Simphiwe Nhlapo.
“The ten comrades will be transported to the Germiston mortuary, where the families will officially identify them. Myself and the SA Police Service (SAPS) have already visited the families of the deceased and informed them about this tragic incident,” Nkosi-Malobane said at a briefing held in Katlehong on Monday afternoon.
She was accompanied by provincial ANC chairman Paul Mashatile, regional chairman and Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Mzwandile Masina and Ekurhuleni mayor Mondli Gungubele.
Masina said a total of 65 ANC members were traveling in the Kabati Transport Services bus.
“Some of the comrades have already returned home, thirty of them are here among us. Fifteen of those who have returned are in various medical centres in this region, while the other ten are in hospitals in the Free State receiving treatment.”
He said Free State authorities certified that the bus was in good condition and the ANC was awaiting the completion of an investigation into the accident. Some of the survivors reportedly told police that the drivers were swopping seats when crash happened in Winburg, near Ventersdorp.
“At this stage, we know that the bus lost control and overturned, authorities are investigating. We won’t give status to rumours of what happened…we are awaiting the official report,” Masina said.
Provincial chairman Paul Mashatile sent condolences to families of the victims, and added that the Ekurhuleni region would work together with the province to ensure a proper funeral for them.
“We once again send our deepest sympathies to the families of all the comrades who have passed on. These comrades were part of the bigger family of the ANC, some were leaders of a branch and were only elected this year, so they still had a long way to go in leading their branch,” Mashatile said.
President Jacob Zuma also issued a statement on Monday sending condolences to those who lost loved ones in the accident.
Earlier in a statement, Kabati Transport Services sent condolences and said “it is a very great sadness that an unfortunate accident happened on April 17, 2016 in the morning, on N1 between Ventersburg and Wynburg involving our company”.
“This indeed is a sad and tragic time for the families involved and for us as the company, an accident of this kind is the first ever to occur. We ran to the scene in an instant to be of assistance and also establish what had led to this tragic accident. Our drivers are paired on long distance trips and understand their responsibilities when on duty.
“We have a fleet of transport which is regularly serviced, including inspections before a trip is undertaken,” the company said. “We will have no leniency on anyone who has been grossly negligent and irresponsible and we will continue to work closely with all state officials to assist in establishing the facts and root cause of the accident. Our team of investigators are already on the case as well. We commit to cooperate fully with authorities to get answers that shall assist the families to get closure.”
Details of the memorial service and funeral arrangements would be communicated after a funeral committee had consulted with the families on the plans. – Africa News Agency (ANA)