South African police have arrested the driver of an Intercape bus which killed nine Zimbabweans, among them a toddler, in a road accident near Polokwane on Friday last week.
The bus was travelling from Harare to Johannesburg.
Limpopo police spokesperson Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe said the man disappeared from a hospital in Polokwane at the weekend and was intercepted at Beitbridge Border Post by alert police officers.
He said the driver has been charged with nine counts of culpable homicide and will appear before a Polokwane magistrate on Tuesday.
Col Ngoepe withheld the suspect’s name pending his court appearance. Police are also still working on identifying the nine victims.
“The police in Westenburg outside Polokwane have arrested the driver of the bus involved in this horrific accident. He tried to cross the border to Zimbabwe after he was taken to hospital with other 51 injured passengers for medical treatment,” he said.
“As the process of intensive investigations by the police was unfolding, especially on the possible cause of that accident, he then disappeared following his discharge from hospital and fled towards the Beitbridge port of entry.
The police were then tipped-off, they swiftly responded and subsequently, the driver was caught hidden inside a goods trailer trying to illegally cross the border to Zimbabwe.
“This arrested suspect will appear before the Polokwane Magistrate Court on Tuesday the 26 September 2018 on nine counts of culpable homicide and on the possible additional charges at a later stage.
His arrest follows a culpable homicide charge where nine passengers lost their lives during a bus crash which occurred along the N1 South road in the early hours of Friday last week.”
Col Ngoepe said the bus was travelling from the direction of Polokwane towards Gauteng Province when the driver lost control and it overturned while carrying 61 people including the crew.
He said nine people were certified dead on the scene while 51 others were taken top various hospitals in Limpopo province.
Zimbabwe’s Consul General to South Africa Batiraishe Mukonoweshuro said they were working with authorities in the neighbouring country in identifying the deceased, pending repatriation of their remains back home for burial.