Driver error and reckless driving to blame for deadly Pongola crash – Mbalula | News24

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula was talking at a press briefing on Thursday on the web site of the horror accident on the N2 close to Pongola.

  • An investigation discovered that driver error contributed to final week’s lethal crash on the N2 in Pongola.
  • Fikile Mbalula briefed the media on a probe’s findings on Thursday.
  • Mbalula defended his transfer to fly to Qatar on the day that 18 pupils and two adults had been killed.

The driver of the articulated truck, which collided head-on with a bakkie in Pongola final week, had been driving within the oncoming lane for about 1.2 kilometres, overtaking a number of autos. 

Eighteen schoolchildren and two adults had been killed within the accident final week.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula on Thursday revealed throughout a media briefing that driver error was in charge for the lethal crash.

The report by the Road Traffic Management Corporation discovered that the motive force, Sibusiso Siyaya, 28, overtook a number of autos.

“The report found that the driver of the articulated truck overtook multiple vehicles, where this action was prohibited by no-overtaking lines, in a dangerous and unlawful manner. 

“The driver by no means made any try and return to his right lane, however continued driving towards oncoming site visitors. The report concludes that driver error is the key contributing issue to the foundation reason for the street crash.”

Mbalula mentioned the motive force transporting the 18 main faculty pupils had additionally been doing so illegally. 

READ | Scholar transport has to be a priority, says Equal Education after Pongola horror crash tragedy

“The driver of the van was transporting students behind the van. This is against the law and intensely harmful for the passengers behind a items automobile and highlights the significance of scholar transport in our nation,” he said.

He added that the National Road Traffic Act prohibits the transportation of schoolchildren or any other person in a goods compartment of a vehicle for a reward.

Facing a barrage of criticism following the Pongola accident, as well as his earlier hurried response to TV celebrity Anele Mdoda on Twitter over her fixing potholes request, which had South Africans fuming, an emotional Mbalula said he could not reply to everyone on Twitter, but tried his best to get to all concerns. 

“I’ve 2.8 million followers, solely myself, Julius Malema and President Ramaphosa have greater than 1,000,000 followers. When you say I solely reply to celebrities, I do not know what you imply.”

WATCH | KZN man saves woman from fiery truck crash, 2 people injured

He said that, while Mdoda raised the issue of a road repair with him on social media, he did not say he would fix it, but instead asked her to direct message him.

“I did not say I’ll repair it. I requested her to DM me and that was it. I reply to all kinds of complaints and insults [on Twitter]. I’m essentially the most seen and accessible minister on Twitter,” he added.

“I’ve by no means stopped my Twitter account as a result of somebody is swearing at me or something of that kind. When somebody raises the problems of the roads, they don’t seem to be the one ones. There are many roads which are killer roads.”

Mbalula added that he was not beholden to celebrities who live lives of excess. 

“The potholes usually are not closing due to a celeb. Don’t inform me about individuals who get up drunk and tweet. Don’t inform me about these folks. Tell me about actual folks, folks on Twitter usually are not actual folks.”

Mbalula was also criticised online after it was revealed that a member of the Pongola community had been writing to him on Twitter for years, pleading for the road conditions in the town to be fixed. 

READ | Pongola horror crash: Truck driver ‘must languish in jail’ – KZN acting premier

And he received further backlash for going on an international government visit to Qatar on the day of the Pongola crash.

Defending his move to travel to Qatar, Mbalula said he had sent his team to assist in Pongola.

He said there should have been law enforcement monitoring the N2 in Pongola.

“I used to be on the street to Qatar, when a ineffective particular person on the street driving recklessly killed 18 children. I did not know there are not any police right here. In my expectation, there ought to have been police right here.

“I am not here to defend myself. If we did not do anything, I will be the first to say we did not and say there are steps I will take. The accident did not happen because the roads have potholes. It happened because of driver error.”

The variety of vehicles on nationwide roads is simply too many, he mentioned.

“These trucks are not supposed to be on the road. We are supposed to move these trucks from road to rail. But the rail is not up to scratch,” he added.

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