By Judith Sibanda
Thirteen people were seriously injured Sunday morning when the driver of a Bulawayo-bound Ntubeni Bus failed to maneuver through the narrow Gwelo Bridge in Nkayi and fell into the river.
Ntubeni trading as Gatsheni Express landed on its side injuring some of its passengers.
Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights (MIHR) confirmed the incident to CITE, which happened at 3AM but could not state the exact number of passengers who were on board.
“Ntubeni Bus from Zhamba, Gokwe to Bulawayo fell at Gwelo River in Nkayi, Nesigwe area resulting in 13 people sustaining serious injuries and have since been taken to Nkayi hospital.
The accident happened around 3AM this morning and 10 of the injured were females, but no casualties have been reported,” MIRH reported.
However, Matabeleland North Police Spokesperson, Siphiwe Makonese, said she had not received the report as yet.
“I haven’t heard nor received anything from Nkayi people. This is news to me but I will give you details once the district sends the memo to us,” she said.
According to some transport operators who ply the same route, the bridge is in a bad state and needs urgent repairs.
“The bridge is too narrow and drivers often have difficulties passing through the bridge especially at night. Most of these buses will be overloaded which also make it difficult for the driver to control the vehicle,” said one operator.
MIRH said such accidents could be avoided if the government prioritises road rehabilitation across the country.
“The bad state of Nkayi road, which government has not been attending to since Independence in 1980, is partly the contributor to such terrible accidents. The failure by government to enlarge narrow bridges on busy trunk roads is also another contributor together with the poor economy that forces businesses to cut costs and maximise profits,” the organisation said in a statement.