Bus drivers reproached for deadly ANC crash

Shopprice ZA:

The crash of a bus carrying ANC supporters that killed 11 passengers and left 59 critically injured early yesterday has been reproached on fatigue.But The Times has learned that the bus rolled as a result of the driver attempting to exchange seats with another driver.

The bus was travelling from Eastern Cape to Johannesburg when it overturned on the N1 between Winburg and Ventersburg in the Free State . The passengers, all ANC volunteer workers from ward 60 in Katlehong, on the East Rand, were heading home after the ANC election manifesto launch in Port Elizabeth at the weekend.Those at the scene said there were no skid marks or signs of a burst tyre.

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Ekurhuleni region ANC chairman Mzwandile Masina said he knew many of the people who had died in the crash. He said he woke to a call on Sunday at 9am telling him of the crash. He tried to call people on the bus but got no answer. “This is a major setback. We are mourning as a nation and as a region; this is a shock, and now there are bruits that it was due to recklessness of the drivers.we are very much grieved,” he said.

Masina reject to expand on the allegation that the drivers had tried to exchange seats. He said he would wait for the police report.Free State department of health spokesman Mondli Mvambi said: “We strongly suspect fatigue because there was no identifiable barrier and the tyres of the vehicle were intact.”ANC councillor Letile Komane, who was to have been on the bus but instead went on honeymoon, said the community was in deep shock and that people could not believe that their “comrades have died”.

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Masina said: “These were our volunteers, who helped us on the ground with the election programme… these were committed soldiers of the ANC who went to hear the party’s plans. We are going to have a difficult road to the elections.”These people went to [Port Elizabeth] to hear what the way forward will be.”ANC provincial spokesman Nkenke Kekana said party leaders, including the mayor of Ekurhuleni, have visited the families of those injured in the crash.”ANC leaders will go to the families of the injured and those who [died] . In fact, some leaders are already there [last night],” Kekana said.

Plans are under way for other ANC leaders to travel to the Free State this week to visit the injured passengers in hospital.