10 killed in South Africa accident

Cape Town, April 18: Ten people were killed in a crash involving a taxi and a truck loaded with potatoes in South Africa’s Free State Thursday, police said.

The accident in Bethlehem, around 1,100 km from Cape Town, took place at a time when the government was intensifying a nationwide Arrive Alive campaign by imposing stricter rules on the roads during the Easter holiday, Xinhua reported.

An initial investigation found that the truck driver lost control of the vehicle, which swerved in front of the taxi, according to police.

The taxi driver and nine passengers died at the scene, while five others have been admitted to a hospital in Bethlehem.

Elsewhere in the Eastern Cape province, three other people were killed in two separated accidents, according to Arrive Alive campaign spokesperson Tshepho Machaea.

A total of 13 people have died in road carnages within a day before the Easter holiday which starts Friday.

In a statement, the government called for responsible driving and behaviour during this Easter weekend.

Public holidays usually see a high number of road accidents and loss of life in South Africa.

Road carnages claim about 14,000 lives in South Africa every year, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters said earlier this week when launching the Arrive Alive campaign.

Traffic accidents also cause huge economic losses as the country spends 14 billion rand (about $1.35 billion) annually on accident victims, Peters said.

South Africa is among countries that have the highest traffic fatality rate in the world. Authorities have vowed to achieve a 50-percent reduction in road accidents by 2020.

IANS