Pongola horror crash: Transport authorities have blood on their hands

Issued by Francois Rodgers, MPL – Leader of the DA in the KZN Legislature
17 Sep 2022 in Press Statements

The Democratic Alliance in KwaZulu-Natal is deeply saddened by reports that 21 people, including 19 children, have been killed in a horror crash on the N2 between Pongola and Itshelejuba. Video footage shows a bakkie, which was transporting primary school children being hit head-on by the truck which was overtaking on a solid line.

The DA extends its heartfelt condolences to the families and friends who have been robbed of their loved ones, particularly at such a young age. We also extend our best wishes for a speedy recovery to those who were injured.

It is clear that this ANC government is failing KZN’s road users. The lawlessness and carnage that we are witnessing is proof of this. Yesterday also saw a separate incident involving learners. The only positive is that there were no deaths in this particular instance.

Given the growing crisis in our province, the DA expects National Transport Minister, Fikile Mbalula, to intervene and ensure that our roads are safe, properly maintained and that there is increased visible policing.

We also expect him to address the fact that there are far too many heavy vehicles on KZN’s roads. Not only are they a law unto themselves, they are also causing the deterioration of our roads. In this regard, the Minister needs to present a plan on how the rail freight service will be revived. It is the only way to solve the problem.

This type of carnage, at the cost of failed ANC government departments – in this case Transport – cannot be allowed to continue. Nor can the ongoing leadership vacuums, as seen with former Transport MEC, Peggy Nkonyeni. Sadly, the DA does not have much hope that things will improve under new MEC Sipho Hlomuka.

The DA will be closely monitoring the outcome of the Pongola crash investigation. Both the Minister and his MEC and must be held accountable while the perpetrator must be behind bars sooner rather than later. Justice must be served on behalf of the families.