Four others were also injured in the accident after the overloaded kombi veered off the road before crashing into Nonko River.
“Thirteen people were killed on the spot and four more were injured and have since been referred to United Bulawayo Hospital (UBH) in Bulawayo. “The accident occurred yesterday in Fort Rixon although I am yet to receive a report with finer details of the accident,” Matebeleland South police spokesperson Tafanana Dzirutwe said.
The Fort Rixon accident came just a month after 13 other people were killed in another fatal accident which occurred along the Harare-Bindura highway after a min-bus driver lost control and veered off the road.
Most of the Zimbabwe roads are in a state of disrepair with many littered with dangerous potholes as result of years of neglect and increased volume of traffic beyond designed carrying capacity.
Hundreds of Zimbabweans including some senior government leaders have perished in road accidents that experts have largely blamed on the poor state of roads. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s wife Susan Tsvangirai also perished in car accident along Harare- Masvingo highway in March 2009.
It is believed that the number of the people who have died in traffic accidents is much higher than that of the people who have died of HIV-Aids or any other disease.
Statistics from the Zimbabwe Traffic Police show that road accident fatalities have increases from 35 deaths per thousand accidents to 45 deaths per thousand accidents.
According to the ministry of transport, 30 percent of the country’s roads require rehabilitation, while the remainder needs periodic maintenance.
Zimbabwe introduced tollgates in August 2009 as a way of mobilising resources for the rehabilitation and maintenance of the country’s road network.
Small vehicle road users pay US$1 to cross the tollgates, while buses and lorries pay $5. Motorbike and cyclists do not pay anything.
According to official government estimates, the tollgates are raising $350 000 per week.