SEVENTEEN people died in 143 accidents that occurred during the Heroes and Defence Forces holidays this year, compared with 12 deaths in 116 accidents recorded last year, the Zimbabwe Republic Police said yesterday.
By Rex Mphisa
Of those, seven died in Matabeleland South, six in Matabeleland North, while the other two perished along the Harare-Mutare Highway.
“On August 11, two people from a family of eight died when their Toyota Hiace car rammed into a stationary truck along the Harare-Mutare Highway,” national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said in a statement.
In that accident, six people were injured.
“Another seven died along the Lutumba-Tshitulipasi road in Beitbridge where nine people were injured,” the police said.
Six other people died at the Koche River in Nkayi when the driver of a minibus lost control and the vehicle fell into the river.
The deceased, including the driver, were taken to Mpilo Central Hospital Mortuary, where the injured are also receiving treatment.
This year, 123 people were injured while last year during the same holiday, 64 people were injured. There were seven fatal accidents, while last year, there were 10.
Nyathi attributed the accidents to speeding, overloading and overtaking errors.
Meanwhile, the Beitbridge Municipality has moved in to assist in the burial of seven Beitbridge residents.
Beitbridge mayor Morgan Ncube said each of the seven families of the deceased would receive $400 and those to be buried in Beitbridge would be given free municipality graves.
“We realised this is a disaster within our community and being a municipality of the people, we reached at this decision at an emergency meeting yesterday,” he said.
New information received by this newspaper revealed that of those injured one was a serving member of the Zimbabwe National Army.
The soldier, whose identity is yet to be established, was on his way to Beitbridge.
Police identified some of the Beitbridge victims as Joram Mdlongwa (30) of Chief Staudze, Bekhapi Sithole (39) of Dulivhadzimo, Cephas Chando (260 of Garikayi houses and Tafadzwa Tlou (23) of Chief Staudze.
Three bodies are yet to be identified and police are appealing to members of the public to help with the identification.