Ward councillor Rick Crouch said that the busy intersection should be closed to trucks in both directions, and that heavy-duty vehicles should be forced to use the N3.
“A task team was formed in 2012 to prove conclusively that, among other things, Fields Hill was not safe for large trucks to use,” said Crouch.
“This report was summarily dismissed … by the KwaZulu-Natal department of transport.”
Crouch’s comments followed the deaths of 22 people and the injury of 32 others after a truck smashed into four taxis and a Volkswagen Golf at the intersection on Thursday night.
The man who was driving the truck at the time of the crash was arrested on Friday and charged with culpable homicide and reckless and negligent driving.
He will appear in the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court today.
“Trucks are using that road to avoid tolls, which is why I’m demanding that the MEC stop all heavy trucks from using the road, while investigations continue,” said Crouch.
He added that traffic in general was still a problem at the intersection, not only trucks specifically, as the road acted as a main feeder point for taxis in the area.
Sagekal Logistics owner Gregory Govender said the cause of the accident was unclear and that the crash, involving a driver from his company, was deeply regretted, the Chatsworth Rising Sun reported.
“I am and will continue to co-operate fully with officials during the investigation,” he told the newspaper.
“Due to the sensitivity of the matter and the on-going investigation, I cannot comment further.”
Acting Premier Senzo Mchunu said the department was investigating the accident, and whether it could have been avoided, according to reports.
KwaZulu-Natal transport MEC Willies Mchunu said: “I have sanctioned a forensic investigation to look at all the possible causes of this accident”.
Confirmation on whether the road would be closed to trucks could not be obtained yesterday.
Meanwhile, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters said the road carnage still taking place on highways was a challenge.
“Drastic action is required urgently to avoid a looming catastrophe that’s already costing our (economy) at least R306 billion each year,” she said.
“Greater attention needs to be paid to the policing of moving violations, such as dangerous overtaking and general reckless and negligent driving.”
Peters added that the department was in the process of reviewing several parts of the National Road Traffic Act to ensure that laws punish, without fear or favour, those who are “hell-bent on undermining every rule of the road under the sun”.
Paramedic Shannon Charles could only describe Thursday evening’s horror crash as a “war zone”.
“One word comes to mind when I think of that accident scene: war zone. I give my condolences to all of the families who had loved ones in those vehicles,” Voluntary Emergency Medical Association operations manager, Charles told CNS.
He arrived on the scene at 6.15pm on Thursday. He said one car was side-swiped by the truck at the top of Field’s Hill and another two cars were hit near Jameson Terrace. Those affected had minor injuries.
“I can’t begin to describe what I saw. It has to be the most graphic scenes the Outer West has experienced in a long time,” said Charles.
“Derrick Banks from ER24 was the first on scene. At one time we had more patients than ambulances. However, he (Banks) said the emergency response was extremely well co-ordinated and all the officials worked together.
“We also received a fair amount of help from bystanders,” said Charles.