ONE person died while eight others were injured, four critically, after a Nissan March and a commuter omnibus collided at the intersection of 12th Avenue extension and Park Road in Suburbs, Bulawayo, yesterday. Bulawayo provincial police spokesperson Inspector Precious Simango confirmed the accident. “Eight people were injured in an accident that occurred along 12th Avenue extension and Park Road which involved a pirate taxi and a commuter omnibus.
‘‘The pirate taxi was carrying six passengers while the kombi had two people on board,” said Insp Simango. She said both the driver of the pirate taxi and owner of the vehicle would be charged. “The driver of the pirate taxi will be charged with culpable homicide and the owner for operating without an operators’ licence. “We’re appealing to members of the public not to board these pirate taxis and urge all drivers to observe traffic rules and regulations,” said Insp Simango.
Witnesses said Lawrence Mahachi, 20, the driver of the pirate taxi which plies the CityHillside route, allegedly failed to give way and turned in front of oncoming traffic resulting in the collision. A woman, believed to be a student teacher at Hillside Teachers’ College, was trapped together with another passenger in the Nissan March and died on the spot. According to a witness, Megan Williams, the Nissan March came speeding, swerved and collided with the commuter omnibus which was heading towards the city centre.
“It seems the Nissan March driver panicked and tried to swerve to avoid ramming the vehicle ahead of him resulting in the collision. Passersby had to use an axe to prise through the body material of the Nissan March in an attempt to rescue two passengers who were trapped in the vehicle before the fire brigade arrived. Another witness, Khumbulani Moyo, said the Nissan March was speeding as it approached the intersection, while there was another vehicle ahead of it which was waiting to make a turn and drive along Park Road. “The Nissan March swerved into the opposite lane as the driver was attempting to apply brakes and avoid ramming the vehicle from behind, only to be hit by the oncoming Toyota Hiace commuter omnibus which was in the opposite lane.
The kombi dragged the Nissan March for a few metres until it came to a stop,” Moyo said. Acting Fire Brigade chief fire officer Edward Mpofu said they received a call of the accident at around 7:50AM and rushed to the scene to rescue some passengers who were trapped in the Nissan March. “A Nissan March from the city centre reportedly turned right in front of an oncoming commuter omnibus. Two people were trapped in the Nissan March and the Fire Brigade extricated the trapped persons although one of them died on the spot,” he said. Mpofu said eight people were ferried to United Bulawayo Hospitals by different ambulances. Motorists and residents expressed concern and called on the local authority to erect speed humps or traffic lights at the intersection.
“A week doesn’t pass without an accident occurring here… it has become a black spot particularly on weekends. ‘‘There is a curve which many drivers fail to negotiate resulting in collisions,” said a motorist who declined to be named. Others blamed the police for being lenient with pirate taxi operators whose driving conduct has left many wondering if they are licensed at all. “The police are always keen on harassing drivers with all documents but these pirate taxis have become a law unto themselves. ‘‘Most of them don’t even have licences but they drive around the city putting lives of not only themselves but all other road users at risk,” said Mehluli Mpofu