An 80 ton crane, rolled from a truck, smashed into three vehicles and left one person dead and injured 30 people in Merebank on 13 September.
Rescue Care paramedics worked feverishly with the Durban Fire Department and other emergency services to free people who were trapped in the wrecked Quantum minibus taxi’s and a VW Polo.
During the mammoth task, the last person was freed approximately five hours later.
Joanne Groom, the communications officer for the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance, said countless pleas to the authorities to ban trucks from travelling in residential areas had fallen on deaf ears.
“It seems that human life is not respected. It is business as usual for the trucking bosses whose primary goal is to yield profits, irrespective of the state of their vehicles.
The South Durban area is no stranger to the ongoing trucking hazards on our roads. Our pleas to the eThekwini Municipality and other authorities to do something tangible about the issue has fallen on deaf ears. How many more of our family members, friends, neighbours and children should we bury before we’re taken seriously?” asked Groom.
She remarked that the Durban South communities have become victims of the trucking mafia. “The mafia continues to destroy the social fabric of the communities. We have been fighting with the authorities for the past decade to pull unroadworthy trucks off the roads.
The crane crash on 13 September happened in the evening, after the majority of public transport users and others were already at their homes and other places. If this accident happened during the day, the lives of many people would have been ruined ,” said Groom.
She remarked that the the horrific Fields Hill crash, which was triggered by an out of control truck, about seven year’s ago is etched in the memories of people in KwaZulu-Natal.
“That crash claimed the lives of 22 innocent road users. We call upon Transnet, the eThekwini Municipality and the government to fulfill their promises for an effective integrated freight and logistics plan, to curb the high fatalities on our roads. “The establishing of the dry port at Cato Ridge must be fast tracked. Truck stops and staging areas ought to be prioritised to relieve traffic congestion in the residential areas and the city. There should be one designated lane for trucks on our main roads and trucks must be banned from the residential roads. The policing of unroadworthy tucks and reckless driving has to be taken to another level. The traffic police and the National Prosecuting Authority must send out a strong message to the owners and the drivers of the the unroadworthy trucks that they cannot do do as they please,” said Groom.