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Centane bus tragedy that claimed 25 lives being investigated

Mar 3, 2020
Centane bus tragedy that claimed 25 lives being investigated

Centane - Police say a case of culpable homicide is under investigation by Centane SAPS following the tragic bus accident which claimed the lives of 25 passengers and left 75 injured.

"It is alleged that on Monday, at about 07:40, an AB 350 bus was travelling from Cebe Village, Centane, when the driver lost control on the gravel road at Gwelane Locality, Zingcuka Village, Centane, and the bus fell on an embankment," described police spokesperson, Colonel Sibongile Soci.

"25 people were confirmed dead at the scene while 72 other passengers were seriously injured.

"All the injured passengers were rushed to the nearby hospitals for medical attention. The ages and the genders of the deceased are still being checked by forensic officials. The driver of the bus is amongst the deceased passengers."

Col Soci said that the cause of the accident is unknown and will form part of the investigation.

“This is one of the most devastating accidents and as the police family, we wish to express our deepest condolences to the families and friends of the deceased persons. Our hearts go out to the loved ones and close families and friends of the injured persons too,” said Eastern Cape Police Commissioner, Lt Gen Liziwe Ntshinga.

DA saddened by Centane bus accident 

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance said that it is both extremely saddened, but also outraged by the news of a horror bus accident that has claimed at least 21 lives in Centane.

"The bus, which was apparently travelling along a gravel road from Chebe to Butterworth, was reportedly 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," said Marshall von Buchenroder (MPL), Shadow MEC for Transport.

"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."

Von Buchenroder said that late last year, Eastern Cape 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?" von Buchenroder asked.

"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."

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