The KwaZulu-Natal Transport Department has ordered a full-scale investigation into the multiple car crash, which left scores of people injured and vehicles damaged on the M41 highway near Umhlanga, north of Durban, on Monday morning.
According to the reports, a runaway tipper truck collided with more than 40 vehicles during the morning traffic. A total of 49 vehicles were involved.
The tipper truck is suspected to have experienced break failure, which caused major devastation and brought traffic to a standstill.
Transport, Community Safety, and Liaison MEC, Sipho Hlomuka, said part of the investigation will look at the allegations of a total failure of the truck's braking system, condition of the driver, and various other defects.
“If it's found that the truck was uroadworthy, the government could also advocate for charges to be pressed against the truck owner,” Hlomuka said.
Hlomuka has also expressed concerns at the alarming rate of truck accidents on provincial roads, noting that Monday's accident was unnecessary and could have been avoided.
“We have ordered an investigation so that those responsible could be held accountable. As a government, we have a targeted programme focusing on trucks.
“There is a growing challenge with the behaviour of tipper truck drivers in areas such as N2 Phongolo and N2 Richards Bay. We will continue engaging with the freight and logistics sector to adhere to the laws,” the MEC said.
He said the investigating team is already taking statements from the eyewitnesses and will reconstruct the scene, while the truck will be taken for forensic inspection.
Hlomuka wished all people affected by the accident, including those who suffered trauma and physical injuries, a speedy recovery.
The government also appealed to motorists to be extra vigilant on the road at all times.
Meanwhile, on Monday, Hlomuka led Operation Siyahlola and rolled out crime fighting initiatives in Sweetwaters-Mpumuza under the Msunduzi Local Municipality, Pietermaritzburg.
Hlomuka, who was accompanied by uMngungundlovu District Mayor Mzi Zuma, Msunduzi Local Municipality Mayor Mzimkhulu Thebolla, councillors, and traditional leaders, conducted an assessment of all roads in Ward 2.
Among the main roads that will be upgraded in the area include D2398, which is over two kilometres. The road will be upgraded to a concrete surfaced road at a cost of R45 million.
“The drainage along this road requires upgrading and improvement as it is in a mountainous terrain, and there is Mabane River Bridge, which also needs to be upgraded. This road will benefit the communities in Mabane Ward 2, Laduma, and KwaNxamalala, as it will give easy access to social facilities,” Hlomuka said.
The MEC also interacted with the community on crime fighting initiatives in the area during an event held in Siyanda Sports Ground.
Source: South African Government News Agency