TRANSPORT MEC VISITS NYAMBUVU AFTER BAKKIE ACCIDENT
By: Nomvula Ndlovu
KwaZulu-Natal Transport MEC, Willies Mchunu announced that government will look into introducing a policy that prohibits learners from using bakkies as transportation to prevent further accidents.
Mchunu made the announcement at a meeting with parents who lost their children at Monday’s accident where a bakkie, carrying 30 passengers, lost control and dipped into a sewerage dam.
Nokwazi Phungula(12); Sindiswa Bhengu (12); Amanda Khanyile (7); Lindo Mayekiso (7); and Phumlani Shelembe (18) from Nyamvubu area, Rietflei, died at the scene of the accident.
Mchunu, accompanied by Education MEC, Peggy Nkonyeni, went to meet the families and the community so they could share in their sorrow and expressed their condolences to the families on behalf of government.
All deceased learners attended Senzokuhle Combined School in Nyamvubu areaunder the Mpofana Municipality.
While addressing the public, Mchunu said the Department of Transport will step in and assist Mpofana Municipality.
“We will conduct an audit of all schools and identify learners who depend on the use of bakkies for transport so that we can prioritise them for our free scholar transport programme. In addition, we will look into the possibility of introducing a policy that prohibits learners from using bakkies for transport,” said Mchunu in a statement.
“If we don’t identify these areas now and put a stop to them, we will be sitting on another time bomb where we will see such an accident happening again,” he added.
Mchunu also said transport officials would be immediately dispersed to the Mpofana area to assess how many more subsidised scholar transport buses would need to be added in the area. This follows calls by parents in the area for government to assist in the transportation of their children.
“We already have scholar transport in the area, but we realise it is not enough. There is a huge backlog. We want to get to a level where all learners especially in impoverished areas have transport to school. This is a polic developed by a caring government which does not want to see children walking long distances to schools,” Mchunu said.
The driver of the vehicle has been arrested and the department has requested a team of forensic experts to investigate the cause of the accident. The families will also receive assistance from the department and the Road Accident Fund for funeral arrangements.