The Democratic Alliance is both extremely saddened but also outraged by the news of a horror bus accident that has claimed at least 21 lives in Centane today, 2 March 2020.
The bus, which was apparently travelling along a gravel road from Chebe to Butterworth, was reportely transporting 79 people, most of whom were pensioners who were going to town to collect their social grants.
Instead, the bus left the gravel road near the Tafalofefe Hospital, rolled several times and ended deep in a ravine, with many, including the driver, killed as a result.
The DA extends its condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives in this accident and wishes those injured a speedy recovery.
The DA is also outraged that this accident happened in the first place. One life lost on our roads is one too many!
It is clear that Transport MEC Weziwe Tikana -Gxothiwe’s intervention strategy continues to fail in reducing the number of fatalities on our roads.
We need to implement a 24-hour law enforcement system, which MEC Tikana-Gxothiwe has been promising us since 2018.
We need to start tackling the backlog in repairing and maintaining our provincial road infrastructure.
Late last year, Premier Oscar Mabuyane said the backlog is estimated at well over R160-billion.
Mabuyane said, “A gravel road of 35km is a long road to travel and the risks associated with driving on it with a small vehicle are immense.”
How much greater the risk for a bus carrying pensioners with no other means of getting to town to collect their grants?
We have asked MEC Tikana-Gxothiwe on numerous occasions to give us information relating to the current state of the roads and the backlogs we are dealing with, but we are still awaiting answers.
A safe and secure transport network in this province is critical if we are to have any hope of preventing further tragedies the likes of what we have experienced today.