Zuma calls for stronger traffic laws

The president was speaking at the funeral service of Minister Collins Chabane who was killed in a car crash.

Various members of the South African National Defence force stand by as the coffin of late Public Service and Administration Minister, Collins Chabane, was lowered into the ground at a cemetery in the Xikundu village. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

LIMPOPO - President Jacob Zuma has called for harsher punishment and stronger traffic laws following the death of Public Service and Administration Minister Collins Chabane in a car accident.

More than a week ago, Chabane was killed on the N1 Highway between Polokwane and Mokopane alongside his two security guards Lesiba Sekele and Mareme Lentsoane, when their vehicle collided with a truck.

On Saturday, mourners gathered in his home village of Xikundu where he was laid to rest.

Truck driver Amukelani Rikhotso has been charged with three counts of culpable homicide and one of drunk driving.

At the funeral service, Zuma said he believes Rikhotso was sleeping behind the steering wheel.

"What this driver in my view did not do, was to park the truck and rest. He was sleeping. When he woke up and saw the car, he did not know what he was doing and swerved."

"Maybe we should strengthen the rules and harsher punishment of those who break the rules. I spoke to the minister of transport, asking what else can we do? Because not very far from there we lost another valuable comrade more than a decade ago. How can we stop losing valuable citizens on the road?"

Chabane's wife Khensani also paid tribute to her husband in a message that was read out by her friend Charlotte.

Meanwhile, a family spokesperson for Sekele says the VIP driver always bragged about how fortunate he was to work for Chabane, as he was always on time and never encouraged him to speed.

National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega and Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko were among mourners who gathered in Limpopo to bid farewell to Sekele at his funeral service on Sunday.

Sekele was behind the steering wheel during the crash.

Family spokesperson Boy Mashaba said, "The truck didn't have reflectors, so wherever you were, you couldn't see whether there was a truck turning or ahead of you."

He said Sekele's 31-year-old widow Mapula is extremely traumatised.

"I think she will heal in time, but what Sekele used to tell us is that he was glad he was working with the minister. Minister Chabane was sensitive to time. So they were not in a rush."

Images: Reinart Toerien/EWN.