News24 Wire
1 minute read
3 Mar 2020
10:56 pm

Eastern Cape bus crash death toll rises to 29

News24 Wire

'Bus operators who overload and place people's lives at risk will be severely punished,' Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said.

The bus in which 25 people were killed and about 60 injured when it rolled down a steep incline near Centane in the Eastern Cape, 2 March 2020. Photo: Eastern Cape Health department

The death toll in the Eastern Cape bus crash has risen to 29, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula announced.

Mbalula, who was in the province on Tuesday, went to the crash scene in Centane and later visited survivors at various hospitals.

It was earlier reported that the bus, which was overloaded, was transporting pensioners and young children when it veered off the road and plunged into a deep gorge in Centane on Monday, killing 25 people and injuring more than 60.

Mbalula told relatives of both the survivors and dead that the death toll had increased from 25 to 29.

“The crash has scared us a lot and yesterday we were told that the number of the deceased passengers was at 25. Today, we have been told by government officials that the number has risen to 29. This shows that South Africa must stand up and prevent such accidents from happening.”

He said while investigations would be continuing, the department would not be resting on its laurels and would launch a massive safety compliance drive targeting public transport operations.

“No public transport vehicle should be on our roads unless it meets all safety requirements. Those who undermine the system and cut corners to fraudulently issue roadworthiness certificates when the vehicle should not be on the road, will face the full might of the law.

“Bus operators who overload and place people’s lives at risk will be severely punished,” Mbalula added.

He vowed the department would not hesitate to withdraw the operating licences of those who drive recklessly and put people’s lives at risk.

Mbalula said department officials would lay criminal charges where there was evidence of criminal conduct.

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