Pinetown accident death toll at 22: Radebe
An accident in Pinetown on Thursday claimed 22 lives, acting president Jeff Radebe said in Durban on Friday.
Radebe was visiting the accident scene on the corner of Field's Hill (M13) and Richmond roads, and would also visit various hospitals.
On Thursday, the presidency and police put the death toll at 27.
Police spokesman Vincent Mdunge said 24 people were declared dead at the scene, and another three died on arrival at hospital.
A truck crashed into four minibus taxis and a car on the M13. Traffic officials said it appeared the brakes on the truck had failed.
The truck driver was arrested on culpable homicide charges.
“He has been charged with culpable homicide, and reckless and negligent driving,” said Colonel Vincent Mdunge.
“The details of the accident are still being investigated, so we cannot draw any conclusions at this stage.”
KwaZulu-Natal transport MEC Willies Nchunu’s spokesman Kwanele Ncalane, said the driver was being held at the Pinetown police station.
Nchunu would also ask prosecutors to check whether it was possible to also have the transport company charged, said Ncalane.
KwaZulu-Natal Road Traffic Inspectorate spokeswoman Zinhle Mngomezulu said on Thursday evening that the Pinetown accident occurred when the brakes failed on the truck belonging to Evergreen Transport.
Transport Minister Dipuo Peters has ordered a high-level investigation into the crash and will visit the accident scene on Friday morning.
The accident occurred when the articulated truck hit four fully-laden taxis and a Volkswagen Golf on the corners of Fields Hill (M13) and Richmond roads in Pinetown shortly before 7pm.
Two bouquets of flowers were placed at the intersection of the accident on Friday.