Thupeyo Muleya , Beitbridge Bureau
FOUR Zimbabweans and a South African died while nine others were injured when a cross-border bus collided head-on with a minibus in Musina, Limpopo province yesterday.
The accident occurred at around 5AM, some 9km before Musina near Sasol Service Station between Musina and Makhado (Louis Trichardt) towns.
It is understood that the driver of the minibus that was heading towards Makhado refused to stop at a security checkpoint resulting in a high-speed chase with the police.
In the process, the driver lost control and it collided head-on with the bus that was transporting returnees to Zimbabwe.
The country’s Consul-General to Johannesburg Mrs Melody Chaurura said last night that they were now working with the police in identifying the victims and notifying their next of kin pending repatriation for burial.
She said the names of the deceased will be released in due course.
“We are seized with the matter and we are going to send a team to Limpopo province to collaborate with the South African Police Services (SAPS) and other stakeholders to carry out all the necessary processes leading to the repatriation of the bodies,” said Mrs Chaurura.
“So far, we have established that among the deceased, four are Zimbabweans and the fifth victim is a South African who was driving the minibus. Nine Zimbabweans were also injured during the collision and six have been treated and discharged while three others are still admitted at Musina Hospital”.
Limpopo’s Department of Transport and Community Safety said in a media statement yesterday that the five were certified dead at the scene.
“The taxi driver allegedly refused to stop at a security checkpoint resulting in a high-speed chase with the police. The accident happened during the chase,” said the Department.
As a result of the accident, the road was temporarily closed for over three hours to allow emergency personnel to clear the wreckage.
Limpopo’s Member of Executive Committee (MEC) responsible for Transport and Community Safety (MEC) Ms Mavhungu Lerule-Ramakhanya has since sent messages of condolences to the families that lost their loved ones in the horrific accident.
She said it was disturbing that the number of fatal road accidents linked to human error had increased in the last three days.
“Most of the accidents are caused by reckless drivers and innocent people are victims,” she said.
The N1 is the major commercial road that links South Africa and the rest of the Sadc countries north of the Limpopo River.
The road has become a death trap with over 100 people including Zimbabweans and Malawians having died in accidents in the last five years. — @tupeyo