PIETERMARITZBURG, April 1 – KwaZulu-Natal transport, community safety, and liaison MEC Mxolisi Kaunda has condemned an incident in Pietermaritzburg in which six pedestrians died when a bakkie smashed into them and an angry mob subsequently killed the allegedly drunk driver.
“The driver allegedly lost control of his bakkie in Boston Bulwer Road at around [7.20pm on Friday] night, resulting to the death of five pedestrians. Immediately after the accident community members attacked the bakkie driver and stabbed him to death. The police are currently investigating five counts of culpable homicide and one case of murder,” Kaunda said.
Earlier on Saturday, ER24 spokesman Werner Vermaak said that shortly after 8pm on Friday night paramedics from ER24, EMRS, and other services attended the scene where they found a bakkie that crashed into pedestrians.
“The driver of the bakkie was found with fatal injuries. It is understood from bystanders that members of the community allegedly stabbed the driver to death shortly after the incident. Five pedestrians were found with fatal injuries. There was nothing that paramedics could do for them and they were declared dead on the scene.”
Another pedestrian was in a critical condition and later succumbed to his injuries on the scene. Seven other people were treated on the scene for injuries ranging from moderate to serious before being transported to a nearby hospital for further medical care. The cause of the accident was not yet known, Vermaak said.
Kaunda said he had directed all agencies to speed up the investigation into the cause of the deadly accident. The Pietermaritzburg crash came a few hours after Kaunda’s visit to the scene of another crash which claimed the lives of 14 people on the R33 in Msinga. He urged law enforcement to be tougher on errant road users.
“The circumstances surrounding the fatal crash on Boston Bulwer Road outside Pietermaritzburg are very disturbing. The fact that pedestrians were knocked down by someone who is allegedly drunk leaves devastating pain.
“While we encourage members of the public to work with the police to report errant drivers, we equally condemn the stabbing and killing of the bakkie driver in a mob attack. Irresponsible drivers must be handed over to law enforcement agencies. We strongly condemn the unnecessary loss of innocent lives on our roads and we send our heartfelt condolences to all the affected families who have lost their relatives during this Easter period.
“Approaching this Easter holidays, we had a clear integrated plan by all law enforcement agencies. Traffic police will continue working hard through the long weekend. Equally, we call on all road users to take responsibility and adhere to the road signs and traffic rules. The recent spate of accidents in the province is unacceptable. All stakeholders, including the religious fraternity, must come together and work to change the mind-set of all road users,” said Kaunda.