eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede said today she would take personal responsibility for the swift construction of speed humps in an area where a taxi ploughed into four teenaged schoolgirls, leaving three dead and one in a critical condition.
The girls were hit at about 7am along the Dumisani Makhaye Highway as they were walking to the Newlands East Secondary School in Durban.
It is alleged that the driver skipped a red robot and hit the girls with such force that they were dragged along the road for several metres.
Angry community members took to the streets shortly after the incident, burning tyres and stoning the taxi. They blockaded the road and demanded that speed humps be constructed on the road. Public order police were called to the scene to restore calm.
The 33-year-old driver allegedly fled the scene but turned himself in at a police station. He was arrested and will appear in court soon.
Gumede called for calm this afternoon and said: “I will take it on myself that the process of installing speed humps in the area is expedited”.
She also expressed condolences to the families who had lost their children.
“I am optimistic that our law enforcement officers will do everything possible to bring the perpetrator of this horrendous act to book,” she said.
“Most of the accidents are as a result of motorists being reckless. We have got incidents where some drive with speed, endangering the lives of other road users. We have on numerous occasions as leaders called for motorists to drive safely but some decide not to listen,” said Gumede.
Earlier in the day, the province’s MEC for safety and transport, Mxolisi Kaunda, said he had asked police to expedite the investigation into the crash. Kaunda also pleaded with motorists and pedestrians to “observe the rules of the road so we can save lives”.
He said that recently released statistics on road accidents and fatalities revealed that most of the crashes on the country’s roads were as a result of “human error”.
“Our major concern is that these crashes claim the lives of young people who are expected to contribute immensely in the development of our country,” said Kaunda.
He too sent condolences to the family of the deceased.
Police are investigating three cases of culpable homicide.
– African News Agency (ANA)