Durban – A total of 25 people were killed in road accidents over the long weekend in KwaZulu Natal according to KZN Dept of Health Emergency Medical Services.
KWAZULU-Natal Health MEC Ms Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu paid tribute to all of the Department’s forensic pathology and emergency medical services staff for carrying out their national duty with aplomb, following a spate of fatal road crashes over the weekend. She has also voiced her disquiet about the filming and distribution of video footage of a burning minibus taxi with terrified passengers inside.
The latest information from the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health’s Emergency Medical Services is that between 09 – 11 August 2019, a staggering 25 motor vehicle crashes took place, which resulted in 25 fatalities. A further 24 people sustained critical injuries, while 32 were seriously injured, and 86 got away with minor injuries. Six of these crashes took place on national routes.
Among the serious road incidents that took place in KZN since Friday have been the:
- Demise of six young Zulu maidens who were traveling in a Toyota Quantum from Pomeroy to attend a pre-annual royal reed dance event in Durban on Saturday afternoon. It is alleged that the driver lost control of the vehicle and crashed and burst into flames. Nine other occupants of the vehicle escaped with serious to minor injuries;
- A crash in Folweni between a minibus taxi and a light motor vehicle on Sunday morning, which claimed five lives, and left 17 people injured;
- A bus which overturned in the Lousberg area on Sunday night, which claimed the lives of six people, and left 9 critically injured, 16 with serious injuries, and 58 with minor scratches.
“While we send our deepest condolences to families who lost their loved ones, and wish the injured a speedy and full recovery, we would be failing in our duty if we did not recognise the sterling efforts of our forensic pathology and emergency medical services staff. They have really had their hands full over the past few days, yet the manner in which they have responded has been superb, said MEC Simelane-Zulu.
“We appreciate the work that that they’ve done, and we want to say to them they must keep it up, because their response time, and the kind of work that they do is really being seen.
“We understand that there’ve been a number of challenges, particularly in the Forensic Pathology Services unit, at Magwaza Maphalala (Gale Street) Medico-Legal Mortuary in particular, along the lines of a go-slow. The Department is working to resolve those challenges. The Head of Department, with other senior managers, went there and assessed the facility and the environment, and is working on the solutions.
“As we join the Department of Transport in encouraging South Africans to adhere to the rules of the road and always keep their vehicles in a roadworthy condition, we thank our staff for working diligently in attending to these crashes and other eventualities.”
MEC Simelane-Zulu also called on the public to respect the privacy and sanctity of people in situations of distress, and desist from filming them and distributing footage.
“In the case of the incident in Pomeroy, we heard disturbing and harrowing reports that a video of people inside the burning taxi was filmed and distributed. That is the height of insensitivity, which leaves relatives of the deceased with emotional scars that could lead to long-term mental challenges – which is grossly unfair, and has a direct impact on us the Department of Health. Not so long ago, we had an incident in which a young woman was filmed giving birth (without her consent), having arrived late at one of our clinics. Fortunately, our healthcare workers were able to attend to her and save hers and her baby’s lives. Such incidents of unauthorized filming are really uncalled for and we would like every person who films and distributes such footage without consent to ask themselves this question: how would you I feel if it was me or my loved one being taken advantage of like that?” he said.