Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
At least 15 people, including an eight-month-old baby, were killed when a vehicle they were travelling in collided head-on with a haulage truck early yesterday morning along the R101 Highway near Mokopane town in South Africa’s Limpopo Province.
South African police Limpopo spokesperson Colonel Ronel Otto yesterday said they believed that the majority of the deceased were Zimbabweans.
“The incident occurred between Mokopane and Naboomspruit at around 3am. The identities of the deceased are not known yet though we believe the majority could be Zimbabweans. The identification process is ongoing.
“The driver of the truck sustained minor injuries while two other people from the small vehicle survived and were taken to Mokopane Hospital,” she said in an earlier interview before the death of the other victim after admission in hospital.
The Ford double cab was travelling towards Pretoria with 16 people, including the driver, while the truck was going in the opposite direction.
Col Otto said they had so far recovered three Zimbabwean and one Malawian passports from the scene.
She said they had charged the truck driver with culpable homicide.
Zimbabwe’s Consul General to South Africa Mr Batiraishe Mukonoweshuro said they were working with South African authorities to identify the victims.
He said they were also in touch with officials administering the Road Accident Fund (RAF) in Limpopo Province for them to help with the repatriation of the bodies to Zimbabwe for burial.
“We want to emphasise that those who die in South African road accidents will be assisted through the RAF which also approves funeral parlours to repatriate the remains of the deceased.
“Given that a number of the victims might not have been carrying identification documents on them, it is encouraged that those with relatives and friends who travelled recently confirm whether they arrived at their destinations” he said.