Seven people have been killed and 15 others seriously injured in a minibus crash on the R56 between Umzimkhulu and Ixopo in southern KwaZulu-Natal on Saturday.
The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport says this is the first major crash in the province since the start of the festive season.
It is believed that the occupants were travelling from Gauteng to the Eastern Cape, when the driver lost control and crashed into a river. Amongst the deceased are two small boys.
Emergency Medical Services Spokesperson, Robert Mckenzie says the minibus was traveling from Johannesburg.
“Paramedics worked together to treat 15 patients for injuries ranging from critical to minor. They have been transported to local hospitals where they are receiving treatment for their injuries.
“It’s believed that the minibus was transporting the people from Johannesburg to KwaZulu-Natal at the time of the crash. The exact circumstances resulting in the minibus leaving the road are not known at this stage and it’s being investigated by the police, ” Mckenzie adds.
There has been a tragic crash on the R56 between Ixopo &Umzimkhulu.
A minibus crashed off the road at around 4am. Sadly 7 people have sustained fatal injuries. Paramedics have treated 15patients at the scene.
— KZN EMS (@KZN_EMS) December 21, 2019
Department spokesperson, Kwanele Ncalane says, “At this stage we have our teams to assist and also to make sure that we begin the process of investigation. We would like to urge all motorists who are traveling in the province to remain in high alert and be extra cautious on the road and ensure that we all work towards saving the lives of the people. The priority of the MEC is that we reduce major fatal crashes in these accidents. This one is a major setback however we will do all we can to ensure that we achieve a targeted reduction during this period.”
In Mpumalanga, seven people have died in separate road crashes in Mpumalanga since on Fridat night. In one incident two people have died and 14 sustained injuries after a minibus taxi they were travelling in overturned on the N4 toll road near Komatipoort.
The Department of Community Safety, Security and Liaison urges drivers to take caution on the road.
The Department’s Spokesperson, Moeti Mmusi says, “Minibus-taxi that was Mozambique bound overturned and two people were killed as a result and then 14 more sustained slight injuries and they’re receiving medical attention. While last night around 12:00 midnight there was a head-on collision that occurred on N4 toll road between a light delivery vehicle and a truck that left two people dead and one person seriously injured. Another incident, there was a bus that collided with a truck on the N4 toll road near Komatipoort, the driver of the truck died while six people sustained slight injuries.”
Meanwhile, in the Western Cape, traffic authorities say the number of people killed on provincial roads since the start of the festive season is lower compared to last year.
Provincial Traffic Chief, Kenny Africa says 79 deaths have been recorded compared to 109 in the same period last year. Africa says this is also due to the changed behaviour of drivers.
He has however warned that any driver failing to obey road regulations will be arrested.
“There are still motorists who don’t care who endanger the lives of our people on the roads by drinking and driving. I got a very clear message from the Westen Cape; if you drink and drive we will arrest you. If we catch you driving while on the cell phone we will impound your cell phone. Road safety is everybody’s responsibility. ” Additional reporting by Mthobisi Mkhaliphi and Chris Mabuya.