Driver, charged with negligence in Swaziland crash

Johannesburg — A newspaper in Swaziland is reporting that one of the drivers involved in the crash that killed a reported 38 young women and girls on Saturday has been arrested.

The Times of Swaziland reported yesterday that the man who appeared in court on Saturday was charged with negligent driving. He remains in police custody.

The newspaper said the 46-year-old man is a driver employed by the government of Swaziland.

The girls and young women were killed while on their way to join thousands of others at Swaziland’s most famous traditional festival, the annual reed dance.

A rights group, the Swaziland Solidarity Network, claims that the death toll has risen to 65. Swazi police dispute this, saying that only 13 people died.

Meanwhile, the death toll in the accident has risen to 65.

Over 100 more have been hospitalised, Swaziland Solidarity Network spokesperson Lucky Lukhele said.

“Thirty-eight died at the scene,” he confirmed.

Another 27 died in hospital.

“What makes this tragedy worse is that these women were being transported in a truck, which is against the law,” he said.

He reiterated the network’s call for the reed dance to be cancelled.

“It would be abhorrent if it should be allowed to go ahead,” Lukhele insisted.

“The event should instead be turned into a prayer session where support can be given to the families who have been affected.”

President Jacob Zuma has also sent his condolences to the people of Swaziland.

“[We] share in the mourning of the families, as well as the relatives of the deceased. We wish the injured speedy recoveries,” he said in a statement. — Sapa

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