6 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Bus Accident Claims Eight in Bulawayo

EIGHT people died while several others were seriously injured yesterday when the bus they were travelling in veered off the road and overturned at Cement Siding on the outskirts of Bulawayo about 10km on the Harare highway.

Bulawayo police spokesman, Mandlenkosi Moyo confirmed the accident but did not have the finer details.

He could not confirm the number of people who died in the accident.

But survivors said the Jay Jay Tours bus, which was heading to Botswana from Harare, veered off the road at around 2am yesterday and overturned, killing some passengers on the spot.

The bus was carrying 65 passengers.

Mandla Dube, one of the relief drivers, said he did not know how he survived as everything seemed to occur in a split of a second.

"I do not know how I survived. I was thrown out of the bus," Dube said, adding that he fractured his ribs and sustained head injuries.

Dube said Themba Sibanda, who was driving during the time of the accident, reportedly also suffered head and rib injuries.

This past festive season has seen a death toll of over 208 people compared to about 147 who died in road accidents in 2011.

The accidents occurred despite the heavy presence of traffic police on major highways.

Traffic safety officials blame a number of factors for the upsurge in crashes, including the poor state of the roads and the increase in the volume of traffic and human error.

Police have also been accused of contributing to the carnage by taking bribes from traffic offenders, enabling unroadworthy vehicles to continue plying the roads.

The corruption charges last week forced a senior police officer to issue a statement urging motorists to ignore roadblocks staffed by less than three officers.

During the holidays, the police deployed senior police officers to man roadblocks and bus termini because they are less prone to corrupt activities.

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