Durban — KwaZulu-Natal Transport MEC Sipho Hlomuka has called on truck owners and drivers to work with the government in reducing the levels of crashes and fatalities.
Hlomuka was speaking following a crash that left seven people dead and many injured on the M35 outside Isipingo in Durban on Saturday.
Authorities believe that a truck collided with three vehicles on the M35.
KZN emergency service spokesperson Robert McKenzie said the truck was carrying a container and it came to rest down an embankment after the crash.
Hlomuka said: “It is painful to witness yet another truck accident. The alarming levels of fatalities involving trucks is unacceptable.”
Without pre-empting the investigation, Hlomuka said, “we are concerned at the levels of accidents involving trucks on our roads”.
In October alone, more than 55 truck accidents were reported in the province, he said. The government has taken extraordinary steps to focus on law enforcement of heavy vehicles.
“We have commissioned an investigation into the cause of the Isipingo accident. We send our condolences to all the affected families,” said Hlomuka.
KZN Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube also sent her condolences to the families and welcomed the prompt commencement of an investigation by the police to determine the cause of the crash.
Road Freight Association Chief Executive, Gavin Kelly also called for urgent action in the road freight industry following severe crashes.
“Through very poor and highly contentious traffic policing and management services, very weak implementation of regulatory requirements by both transport authorities and labour authorities, and the ability for any individual to operate a fleet with very little chance of quality control or actions to remove non-compliant fleet operators, we have arrived at the point where we are today,” Kelly said.
Hlomuka said as part of the recently launched Festive Season Safety Campaign, the government is focusing on heavy vehicles and public transport to promote public safety and road safety.
“There are several hotspots for heavy vehicles, including the N2 in Phongolo, R34 and N3 Peter Brown.”
The “horror” crash comes a week after the death of six Tenza family members in a road crash outside uMzimkulu, on the R56 in Clydesdale on November 11. It is alleged that their Toyota Avanza collided head-on with a truck. Six occupants in the Avanza, all Tenza family members, died. One sustained critical injuries and was taken to hospital.
This week, Hlomuka is expected to give a comprehensive report on his 100 days in office, including plans to beef up capacity and personnel in the traffic law enforcement agencies to decisively deal with unprecedented levels of crashes and fatalities.
Last week, the Health Portfolio Committee conducted a “week of intensive work” to assess the preparedness of health institutions for the festive season. The visits focused on four district municipalities – King Cetshwayo’s KwaMagwaza hospital, Zululand District’s Nkonjeni, Itshelejuba hospitals, and Amajuba’s Newcastle Provincial hospital.
Committee chairperson Nomakiki Majola said 1 685 people lost their lives last year on the country’s roads during the festive season, marking a 14% increase compared with 2020.
She said the committee resolved to undertake oversight visits to critically help health institutions and assess if they were ready to cope with the anticipated road accident casualties, and crimerelated injuries during the festive season.
On Friday, the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that road traffic injuries take the lives of about 1.3 million people every year.
The WHO said this when it held the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims (WDR) which is commemorated annually on the third Sunday of November.