Robert Phukwana and Staff Reporter Investigations into the Great North Transport (GNT) bus accident have uncovered more defects in the company ﬂeet. GNT buses have been found wanting, with oil leaks and brake failures seeing buses being impounded.
A total of 22 buses belonging to the troubled Great North Transport ﬁrm were impounded after failing roadworthy examinations, transport authorities said on Wednesday. The 22 form part of the 56-strong GNT ﬂ eet inspected at Phalaborwa, Tzaneen and Giyani on Tuesday.
The Department conducted an investigation into the bus ﬁrm after ten people, including a minor child, were killed and others were injured when a GNT bus transporting ZCC members overturned on the R525 road between Haenesburg and Tzaneen on Sunday.
Transport spokesman Kaiso Mootane said examiners found that the company was not complying with road safety standards and not servicing its ﬂeet. Mootane said the company also ﬁelded a bus with wornout tyres and a leaking engine, a ﬁnding the Department said was unacceptable. “We found that more buses were not maintained, had brake failure, wornout tyres, and most of them had similar defects to the three depots inspected so far,” said Moatane.
GNT is a government-owned transport ﬁrm which is fully subsidised by government to service rural areas.
Mootane said investigations will continue and the entire GNT ﬂeet will be inspected to determine if the company’s ﬂeet is safe for commuters. “The Minister of Transport Dipuo Peters has ordered that intensive investigations be conducted on buses throughout, and examiners will move around the province from one depot to another to see if there is compliance.”
The surviving bus-driver told investigators that he alerted the supervisors about the faulty bus before it drove off from ZCC headquarters in Moria, saying it was not roadworthy. But he was forced to drive the bus – and within forty kilometers from where it picked up its victims it crashed.
At the accident scene, a ﬁve-litre container was placed on the side of the bus to manage the oil leakage.
Meanwhile, the Road Accident Fund said it is going to work with the relatives of the victims and the survivors. Mootane said investigations will continue until the Department is satisﬁ ed that companies comply with safety rules and regulations.