South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) is reiterating its call to bus company, Great North Transport (GNT), as well as the Limpopo provincial government to renew the latter’s fleet to curb passenger fatalities.
This comes after a bus driver and five others died yesterday morning after the vehicle they were travelling in rolled over at Sekgopo Hill along the R81. The driver, a SATAWU member, was ferrying passengers to the provincial celebration of the African National Congress’ 108th birthday at Lebaka Sports Complex in Mohlabaneng. Several others were injured.
Reports say the driver lost control of the vehicle but knowing the poor state of GNT buses, SATAWU in Limpopo is once again calling for the renewal of the fleet.
SATAWU has been making consistent calls to GNT and the provincial government as far back as 2015. Since then several accidents have claimed the lives of passengers and left many others injured. In March 2016, for instance, 10 people including a baby were killed and at least 60 others were injured when a GNT bus overturned on the R528 in Magoebaskloof. At the time the provincial transport department suspended the fleet after an inspection revealed some buses were not roadworthy.
SATAWU is concerned more lives will be lost if the company’s fleet which we estimate is 20 years old is not renewed as a matter of urgency. According to industry insiders a bus should be retired after five or so years conditional on how rigorously it was maintained during its life span.
SATAWU will make this call once again when it meets with the management of GNT at the end of this month.