Minister of Transport Dipuo Peters on Tuesday said she would be convening an urgent meeting with the minibus taxi associations and industry roleplayers following alarming crashes involving minibus taxis throughout the country.
“Since December 2016, there has been a phenomenal increment in the number of crashes involving minibus taxis, with the past week recording frequent crashes involving minibus taxis,” said the transport department in a statement.
On Sunday, March 5, 2017, a UD90 Truck collided head-on with a minibus taxi along the R63 between Komga and King Williams Town in the Eastern Cape.
“Nine people died [four females, three males and two male children] and the driver of the minibus was seriously injured and airlifted to hospital,” the department said.
“It has been alleged that the driver of the truck swerved out for an approaching vehicle to the right into the path of the approaching minibus and both vehicles crashed head-on, on the far right of the roadway.”
The department said these crashes take place notwithstanding the minister’s numerous calls to all road users, particularly public transport operators to prioritise road safety given the unabated road crashes and fatalities that involve minibus taxis.
The minister also warned road users to be extremely cautious, as South Africa continued to experience persistent inclement weather conditions associated with recent storms.
The department said the minister “passes her heartfelt condolences” to the families and friends of the deceased and wishes those in hospital “a speedy recovery”.
“The RTMC together with other law enforcement agencies will continue with their investigations, whilst the Road Accident Fund, will extend their services to the families of the deceased as well as the survivors of this carnage,” said Peters.
She also thanked the emergency services, who continuously act swiftly to preserve the lives of the victims by administering on site medical assistance and direct the injured to hospital.
Peters said government was resolute in implementing the National Road Safety Strategy, which she said “clearly articulates South Africa’s road safety plan to fight the scourge of road fatalities”.
The plan will be implemented in line with South Africa’s pledge to fight road carnage and achieve the Decade of Action’s goal of reducing road fatalities by half by the year 2020.