Eight die in Bulawayo road accident

BULAWAYO - Eight people died yesterday morning in a bus accident 10km out of Bulawayo along the Bulawayo-Harare highway.

The driver of the Botswana registered bus, Jay-Jay Tours, lost control at a curve on a rainy morning and veered off the road killing eight people.

Those injured were rushed to United Bulawayo Hospital. The bus was on its way to Botswana from Harare.

When Daily News on Sunday visited the accident scene yesterday morning police and fire brigade officers were busy retrieving bodies from the bus wreckage while ambulances were ferrying the injured to hospital.

Deputy minister of Transport, Morgan Komichi, said the government is worried by the number of accidents occurring on the roads. He said drivers should not speed.

“The accidents are mostly being caused by excessive speed. Drivers should not be careless on the roads. The part of the road where the accident occurred has been rehabilitated. So this accident might have been caused by speeding. We are very sorry to the families who lost their loved ones in the accident,” said Komichi.

Bulawayo provincial police spokesperson Mandlenkosi Moyo said: “This is what has happened, but for more details you can contact our traffic section”. Traffic police spokesperson Tigere Chigome was unavailable yesterday.

The bus accident comes after over 180 people have already died on the roads during the festive season which began on December 15.

Hundreds of Zimbabweans, including some senior government leaders, have perished in road accidents that experts have largely blamed on the poor state of roads. Soccer legend Adam Ndlovu also perished in a car accident along the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Highway on December 16.

Statistics from the police show that road accident fatalities have increased from 35 deaths per thousand accidents to 45 deaths per thousand accidents.

According to the ministry of transport, 30 percent of the country’s roads require rehabilitation, while the remainder needs periodic maintenance.

Zimbabwe introduced tollgates in August 2009 as a way of mobilising resources for the rehabilitation and maintenance of the country’s road network.

Small vehicle road users pay $1 at the tollgates, while buses and lorries pay $5. Motorbikes and cyclists do not pay.

According to official government estimates, the tollgates are raising $350 000 per week. - Pindai Dube

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