The scene of the horror bus crash that claimed the lives of 25 passengers.
A memorial service will on Thursday be held at Centane in the Eastern Cape for the victims of the last week’s bus crash.
Twenty five people were killed when the bus they were travelling in plunged down a ravine last Monday.
The bus was travelling from the Mazeppa Bay area to town. The majority of the passengers were the elderly.
Cebe village lost a total of 23 people.
A 70-year-old retired nurse, Mandisa Ndzotyana, had accompanied her neighbour to draw money and they both died in the crash.
Ndotyana’s daughter, Nontando, says her death is a huge blow to the entire village.
She says: “It is sad to lose my mother because she was everything to me. I remember a time where I was sick for nine months, she was by my side.
“In the family at large she was a pillar of strength.”
“We really lost a woman of strength. We will just have to make sure that we follow in her footsteps and we keep all that she taught us.”
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has warned that drivers who overload and put people’s lives at risk will be severely punished.
He says: “We are hard at work investigating the circumstances of this accident and we will give them the answers they need in order to find peace. It cannot be that we are spurred to action only when lives are lost on our roads. Ensuring that our people are safe on our roads must be a daily pre-occupation.”
He said as a department they will find a practical way to hold those responsible who endanger the lives of people using public transport.
“The culture of consequence management must be the defining character of a service culture that must find expression in everything that we do,” added Mbalula.
Meanwhile, the company that owns the bus in the crash, AB350, blames the condition of the road for the crash.
Stakeholder Relations Manager Manelisi Siguqa says the company will conduct its own investigation.
Siguqa says, “According to our person who was at the scene at the time of the crash, the bus was carrying 65 passengers. We are the only company that is rendering this service and in certain areas the condition of the road is not so good.”
Residents, although not ruling out overloading as the cause, believe the condition of the 28 km stretch of road from Centane to Thafalofefe hospital is the main cause of the crash.
Mbalula has promised that a monument of remembrance for those who died will be constructed at the scene.