Eastern Cape Health says death toll from bus accident still 25

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The provincial Health Department in the Eastern Cape has refuted reports that the death toll following Monday’s bus crash has risen.

Earlier, it was reported that four more people have succumbed to their injuries in hospital raising the number to 29.

However, Spokesperson for the Health Department Sizwe Khupelo says this is untrue. He says a number of people have been discharged from hospital and the death toll still stands at 25.

24 people died at the scene and a three-year-old boy died at the Frere Hospital in East London on Tuesday morning.

Meanwhile, President Cyril Ramaphosa has directed Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula and the Provincial Government of the Eastern Cape to reach out to affected families and provide the necessary assistance, as well as to establish the factors that led to this tragedy.

Minister Mbalula says his department is committed to expediting an investigation and ensure that it is concluded speedily and that commitment extends to strengthening measures aimed at ensuring the safety of people on the roads.

In the video below, families of the Centane crash victims say they are saddened by the incident

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula says drivers who overload vehicles and put people’s lives at risk will be severely punished. He addressed the media at the scene of Monday’s bus crash.

The bus is alleged to have been carrying more than 90 passengers while its capacity is 75.

Mbalula says public transport operators who are found to be negligent will face the full might of the law.

“We have laws in place that enable us to take drastic measures where there’s wilful disregard of our road, traffic, and public transport law. We will not hesitate to withdraw operating licenses of any public transport operator whose drivers behave recklessly and put people’s lives at risk. We’ll similarly not hesitate to lay criminal charges where there’s evidence of criminal conduct.”

Meanwhile, the bus company says it will conduct its own investigation into the cause of the horror crash. Representatives of the AB 350 bus company visited the crash site on Tuesday and sent their condolences to the families of the victims.

The company denies that the bus was overloaded but says it will await the outcome of the investigation. AB 350’s stakeholder relations officer, Manelisi Siguqa has blamed the condition of the road for the crash.

“In terms of our person who was on the bus at the time of the accident, all that she has said to us is that there were actually 65 passengers in the bus and it’s something that we have not verified so we cannot rely on it either. The capacity of the bus takes about 75 passengers. At the moment we are the only company that is rendering this service from very rural areas where in certain areas our roads are not user-friendly. This bus is two years old. In all fairness and probabilities, we have got all reasons to believe the bus was in a very good condition.”