Eastern Cape Transport department will probe whether the national lockdown regulations relating to the ferrying of passengers were flouted after 15 people died in a crash involving a minibus taxi and a truck on Wednesday.
The regulations stipulate that minibus taxis can only carry 70% of passengers per trip from 5 am to 10 am and also from 4 pm until 8 pm.
The crash happened on the N2 between Mt Ayliff and Mt Frere. All the deceased were occupants in the taxi traveling to Mt Frere.
The truck driver and his passenger were taken to the hospital with serious injuries.
Eastern Cape Transport spokesperson Unathi Binqose says the Transport MEC Weziwe Tikana-Gxothiwe is saddened by the deaths.
“The MEC has also expressed deep disappointment at the gross violation of the National Disaster Act as the taxi had 15 passengers, something that should not have happened. She has called on law enforcement to leave no stone unturned in investigating the case and ensuring the rules are upheld at all times,” says Binqose.
DEATH TOLL IN EASTERN CAPE COLLISION RISES TO 15
— MEDIA LIAISON | Esethu Hasane (@EsethuOnDuty) April 15, 2020
Bus accident in Centane
Last month, a bus crash near Centane in the Eastern Cape claimed 25 lives.
The bus was on its way to Butterworth from the Mazeppa Bay area. The cause of the accident remains unclear. The driver of the bus died in the accident.
Spokesperson for the Health Department Sizwe Khupelo says 24 people died at the scene and a three-year-old boy died at the Frere Hospital in East London.
‘Drivers who overload will be severely punished’
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula says drivers who overload vehicles and put people’s lives at risk will be severely punished.
Mbalulawas speaking after the bus crash near Centane. He says public transport operators who are found to be negligent will face the full might of the law.
“We have laws in place that enable us to take drastic measures where there’s wilful disregard of our road, traffic, and public transport law. We will not hesitate to withdraw operating licenses of any public transport operator whose drivers behave recklessly and put people’s lives at risk. We’ll similarly not hesitate to lay criminal charges where there’s evidence of criminal conduct.”