Ramaphosa offers condolences to Senegal after bus crash that killed 40 peopleJanuary 12, 2023
President Cyril Ramaphosa has conveyed a message of condolence to the government and people of Senegal following a bus accident that resulted in the death of about 40 passengers and injuries to more than 100 travellers.
Senegal bus crash
The accident is reported to have happened in the early hours of Sunday morning when two buses collided in Senegal’s central Kaffrine region.
President Ramaphosa said in a statement on Wednesday evening: “On behalf of the people of South Africa, the government and myself, I wish to extend our condolences to my dear brother, President Macky Sall, his government, the bereaved families and the people of Senegal for their tragic loss.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time of mourning their loved ones.”
Senegal halts night buses
Meanwhile, the Senegalese government decided Tuesday to ban night buses between towns and villages after the death toll in a weekend head-on crash left 40 dead.
The importing of used tyres from abroad was also outlawed in a list of measures announced after one of the worst road disasters for years, caused by a burst tyre.
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More than 100 people were also injured when two buses collided in the early hours of Sunday on an arterial road 250 kilometres from the capital in the central Kaffrine region.
The death toll rose to 40 after one of the injured died late Monday during a transfer to a hospital in Dakar, a government statement said.
The accident was blamed on a burst tyre and raised a flood of criticism against the official failure to impose the rules of the road and ensure vehicles are properly maintained.
Prime Minister Amadou Ba convened an interministerial council on Monday including transporters, drivers, insurers and security services to agree on measures to be taken to prevent such tragedies.
Minibuses as well as buses carrying goods and not just passengers will be banned on the roads between 11pm and 5am.
The speed of vehicles transporting goods and people will also be limited to 90 kilometres per hour (56 mph).
The new rules would be enforced, “without delay or compromise”, Prime Minister Ba vowed.
“We will show no concession to those who contravene the rules decided to guarantee the physical integrity of our citizens,” he said.
Road accidents in Senegal
Road accidents are common in the west African country, largely because of driver error, poor roads and decrepit vehicles, say experts. But the latest disaster caused one of the heaviest losses of life from a single incident in recent years.
According to the World Bank, the mortality rate on Senegal’s roads is 24 for every 100 000 inhabitants out of a population of 17 million.
It is six per 100,000 in the European Union and two in Switzerland, while sub-Saharan Africa records a mortality rate of 27.
The government announced three days of national mourning from Monday, with flags flown at half-mast throughout the nation.
Compiled by Thapelo Lekabe. Additional reporting by AFP.
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