IFP demands action after Pinetown crash

JOHANNESBURG - The IFP has called on Transport Minister Dipuo Peters to seek solutions to road accident problems in KwaZulu-Natal.

"We hope the minister, in cooperation with KwaZulu-Natal transport MEC Willies Mchunu, will come up with a plan to curb these avoidable tragedies in the province," Inkatha Freedom Party spokesman Petros Sithole said on Friday.

"We are shocked and distraught by yesterday's accident in KwaZulu-Natal. We were still in shock and mourning the death of the... maidens from Umzumbe... Now barely a week later another tragic accident has happened."

On Thursday, 22 people were killed when a truck crashed into four minibus taxis and a car on the M13 in Fields Hill, Pinetown.

The presidency and police initially put the death toll at 27, but acting president Jeff Radebe on Friday said it was 22.

Traffic officials said it appeared the brakes on the truck had failed. The truck driver was arrested on culpable homicide charges.

Two bouquets of flowers were placed at the intersection of the accident on Friday.

Ten people returning from the annual reed dance festival at the Nyokeni Palace were killed in an accident in the province on Sunday.

The Congress of SA Trade Unions in KwaZulu-Natal believed human error was behind Thursday's crash.

"Surely the interchange between M13 and Richmond could have been avoided. Hence we believe that it's no accident but human error or negligence," provincial secretary Zet Luzipo said in a statement.

"To us as workers, road carnages like this one always have a direct bearing on the economy, social security system, health care and poverty."

Luzipo said Cosatu intended convening a provincial economic council to discuss several matters, including the improvement of roads.

He extended condolences to the bereaved families, and his sympathies to the province's transport department.

"We also extend our sympathies to the KZN department of transport because this turned to undermine all their efforts to end road carnages and reduce them into a department of mass funerals," said Luzipho.

Provincial legislature transport portfolio committee chairman Mxolisi Kaunda said road accidents had "engulfed" the province.

"The portfolio committee is condemning all the vehicles that are not roadworthy on our roads," he said in a statement.

"It further appeals to the KZN department of transport to conduct a thorough investigation on the cause of the accident."

Kaunda said the committee wanted to see justice take place, and harsh sentences imposed on motorists found guilty of road offences.

- Sapa

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