Bongani Ndlovu, Chronicle Reporter
FOUR people died on the spot while five others were seriously injured in an accident involving a bus and two small vehicles at Stanmore, 40km from Gwanda in Matabeleland South province.
The pile-up along the Bulawayo-Beitbridge highway occurred on Saturday when a Toyota Quest allegedly encroached into the oncoming traffic lane and collided with a Delta bus that was enroute to South Africa.
A Mazda Sedan that was travelling closely behind the Quest, rammed into the two vehicles.
Four passengers in the Toyota Quest died on the spot.
Five members of the same family, including a three-year-old girl, who were travelling to Plumtree from South Africa in the Sedan were severely injured.
The injured were ferried to Gwanda Hospital, while others were referred to the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) as their condition is critical.
Pictures circulating on social media show bodies strewn along the highway, while one was of a man seated on the tar, with his back resting on a car. He had bandages on his head.
Both cars are write-offs, while the bus was damaged in the front and its passengers escaped unscathed.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said:
“A Delta bus was travelling towards Beitbridge and the two vehicles were travelling towards Bulawayo. Four passengers in a Toyota Quest died on the spot, while four people were injured. Police are conducting investigations.”
He urged motorists to be more careful on the road.
“We had a similar accident which occurred along the Masvingo-Beitbridge highway yesterday, where two people died. The car was trying to overtake a bus and had a head-on collision with another bus.
“We really appeal to drivers to be very careful during this festive period. And also they must drive with people’s lives in mind,” said Assistant Commissioner Nyathi.
Mrs Bekezela Maplanka whose relatives were in the second car in the Gwanda crash said the three-year-old girl has broken bones following the accident.
“The car that our relatives were in overturned. Two of the relatives are in a critical state and are at UBH. The driver is suffering from chest pains. He is in Gwanda, and a woman has some injuries that aren’t that serious. One of the three-year-old child’s legs is broken and another is dislocated while an elderly woman is the one who is really hurt with serious injuries. She broke both her arms, her chin is broken and her legs,” said Mrs Maplanka.
She said the family is in shock and urged drivers to be more careful on the roads.
“They were from Johannesburg driving to Plumtree. As a family, we are devastated and we are hurt. I only have advice for people on the roads that even though holidays come once a year like Christmas, there is a huge volume of traffic. Some people drive carelessly, while others would be drinking and driving; so people must be more careful and drive safely,” said Mrs Maplanka.
Last Friday, Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga issued a statement saying that the police had launched a campaign dubbed “Join Hands in Preventing Crime and Road Carnage” which will run from December 15 to January 15.
The campaign is aimed at ensuring that all criminal activities in communities and reckless driving conduct on the roads are decisively dealt with.
“My office has observed that this period attracts a lot of attention as fatal and serious road traffic accidents are recorded on the country’s roads. Criminal acts are likely to increase as evidenced by recorded cases of armed robbery, murder, rape, drug abuse, stock theft and unlawful entry and theft.
“The ZRP will therefore, deploy adequately to ensure police officers are visible so that peace prevails in communities, on the roads, public gatherings and any other place where the public has access.
“Stern action will be taken against pirate taxis (mushikashika operators) and motorists who drive recklessly with no regard for the rights of other road users.”
He said he directed officers commanding police provinces to ensure there is more visibility of cops on the country’s major roads.
Article Source: The Chronicle