Saturday, February 27, 2021

Matsha tragedy: Truck roadworthiness questioned

Fresh information has revealed that the truck that overturned and killed seven Matsha Secondary School students and left others severely injured was a mobile coffin with a questionable roadworthiness record.

Fresh information obtained by the Sunday Standard is that the truck belonging to Kweneng District Council had had an accident before, raising questions about its road worthiness. Sunday Standard has been informed that the truck has previously overturned with a load of pit sand near Mantshwabisi village.

Insiders at the local authority this week said that at the time the truck was taken for repair and after the accident its roadworthiness was suspect. Insiders say the repair work concentrated on the panels and side rails and no attention was given to possible mechanical problems.

Contacted for comment on Friday, Council Secretary Wazha Tema said he was not aware “of that…will find out from the Sub District and revert back.”   When contacted later, Tema said he was unable to get a response from Letlhakeng Sub District Council transport department.

“…Unfortunately I can’t deny or confirm. I will assist on Monday…” he said.

Meanwhile councillor for Thamaga Tona Selala alleged Thursday during a full Kweneng District Council meeting that after the accident, the driver of the heavy rescue vehicle that was sent to attend the fatal accident scene was summoned from Ramotswa to come and drive the heavy rescue vehicle from Gaborone to the accident scene.

“I can confidently tell this house that the driver of the truck that attended the scene had to hitchhike first from Ramotswa in order for him to come and drive another truck belonging to a certain emergency rescue company to the accident scene,” said Selala. He explained that the reasons he raised the issue was to demonstrate that there was delay in attending to the accident scene and rescue the victims.

Selala said Government or Kweneng District Council paid the emergency rescue company that attended to the scene for the services rendered during the accident. Selala wondered why some trucks from nearby army base were not called to attend the scene instead of an emergency rescue team from Gaborone.

He also wanted the Council authorities to produce a preliminary report detailing what could have happened prior to the fatal accident.

“As councillors we request that the Council Chairman should give us the preliminary report not to come here and tell us that investigations are ongoing. We know that but there should be a preliminary report detailing what led to the accident because I have been made aware that the company that was called to come and attend to the scene compiled a preliminary report,” he said.

Salajwe Councillor Lopang Sebutlenyane said the Kweneng District Council has a case to answer as to why students were transported in a truck that ferries cattle.

He expressed disappointment at the way some councillors reacted to the Matsha tragedy and called on the Council Chairman to rein in wayward members of his Council.

 In reference to a an incident in which councillor for Lentsweletau and chairperson of Lentsweletau- sub Council Botokanyana Motoroko allegedly attacked and injured Selala, Sebutlenyane said “those who are fond of fist fighting should not be in this house; instead they should join the boxing ring.”

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