HARARE – At least 45 people were killed, while 30 others were seriously injured when a Zambia-bound bus was involved in a horrendous accident on Wednesday evening.
The horrific accident occurred a few weeks after 31 people, mainly cross-border traders, were burnt beyond recognition when a South Africa-bound Proliner bus they were travelling in was sideswiped by a haulage truck and caught fire at Nyamatikiti River, near Chaka in Chirumanzu.
Police spokesperson Charity Charamba confirmed the accident and the deaths to the Daily News yesterday.
“The accident occurred at the 156km peg after the driver of the bus failed to negotiate a bend, which means that he might have been speeding.
“These are the issues we are always talking about when we also raise concerns of visibility at night. We are still gathering more details and we will inform you,” Charamba said.
The King Lion bus was on its way to Lusaka when the driver lost control, before ramming into a tree in Nyamakate, 30 kilometres before Makuti.
Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere, who rushed to the scene of the accident, also told the Daily News yesterday that the government was concerned with the rising death toll on the country’s roads, warned further that tough action would be taken against reckless drivers.
“We have lost quite a lot of our people in bus accidents and we want to make sure we engage with bus companies in relation to their drivers.
“We will also discuss with Transport minister (Joram) Gumbo on what can be done to some of the bus companies and whether their licenses can be revoked,” Kasukuwere added.
An official from King Lion refused to comment substantively on the accident.
“I have no information for you. We are still waiting for the police,” a woman said, before hanging up the phone.
Meanwhile, a fuming Zimbabwe Cross-Border Traders Association president Killer Zivhu, told the Daily News yesterday that government must impose a night travel ban on buses.
“We are advocating the government to ban buses from travelling at night. The roads are too bad, they are now death traps. We would like these cross-border buses to travel between 5am and 7pm.
“If the government fails to ban the buses, we will compile a list of all people who died in road accidents and take the matter to the courts so that they ban all buses travelling at night. Just last month, people were burnt people beyond recognition,” Zivhu said.
In another recent grisly accident in March, a grieving Bulawayo family was hit by double tragedy when 13 of its members were killed on the spot in a horrific accident when their minibus, which was ferrying the body of a deceased relative for burial in Masvingo, was mangled by a haulage truck near the National University of Science and Technology (Nust).
The driver of the minibus was also killed on the spot.
Firefighters called to the scene of the horrendous crash said the accident occurred when the South African registered haulage truck hit a huge pothole, forcing the driver to lose control and plough into the minibus which had 18 occupants, as well as the body which was being ferried for burial.