Twelve Perish In Car Accident
The accident exposed the unpreparedness of the Civil Protection Unit as the fire continued blazing by Tuesday afternoon while remains of the deceased were only retrieved by midday Tuesday.
Gwanda is currently operating without a fire tender while the only trained fire fighter passed away last week.
Police officers had to endure the agony of watching over the charred remains overnight until the fire subsided Tuesday morning.
“It is unfortunate that such things happen and the CPU is unprepared, however we hope they are learning from such mistakes”, said Provincial Governor Angeline Masuku.
All the deceased were in the Toyota Hilux and were travelling back to South Africa having been home for the Easter holiday.
“The driver of the Toyota Hilux is suspected to have fallen asleep before encroaching into the lane of the oncoming haulage truck resulting in a head on collision with the Toyota Hilux being dragged for almost 30 metres,” said Police Spokesperson Sergeant Loveness Mangena.
The accident comes hardly two weeks following the death of 15 people in a bus accident in Nyanga.
More than 30 people have already perished in road accidents countrywide during the four- day Easter Holiday.
Most of the country’s 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.
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.