NUMSA mourns the death of those who perished in road accidents in the Eastern Cape

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) in the Eastern Cape sends condolences to the families of the 46 people who have died in separate tragic incidents over the past weekend. We wish the injured a full and speedy recovery.
It is reported that twenty five (25) people were killed on the R408 between Dutywa and Willowvale, when a bus overturned after a driver had lost control. In a separate accident nine (9) people were killed when a minibus taxi overturned on the R61 between Cradock and Graaff Reinet. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased.
Numsa is concerned that too many lives are being tragically lost on our public roads. We call on the road and traffic law enforcement agencies to investigate the root cause of these two incidents. The majority of people that have perished are breadwinners for their family, and their tragic departure will rob these families of a plate on the table, amidst the triple crisis of poverty, unemployment and inequality, ravaging the working class and poor households.
Numsa welcomes the commitment made by the provincial government to assist the families to bury their loved ones with dignity.
These horrific accidents highlight the need for safer, affordable and efficient public transport system in our country. It is the working class and the poor that commutes to areas of work, which are far from their residential areas, and mostly depend on unroadworthy and unreliable transport system.
We know that the situation of public transport is worse in the rural areas: communities in the rural areas depend on very unreliable transport on very badly maintained roads, every day, to travel. They are also usually easy prey for unlicensed drivers and unroadworthy vehicles.  We demand that the national infrastructure programme must deliberately target improvement in public transport for our rural populations.
In many cases, we strongly believe that at the core of these fatalities is greed by both bus and taxi owners, who are not concerned about the safety of either commuters and drivers who are subjected to long hours of work and high levels of exploitation. We condemn such behaviour in the strongest terms. The government needs to improve its ability to stop such behaviour.
Phumzile Nodongwe
Regional Secretary
Mobile: 078 802 3140