Deputy Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Obed Bapela is currently re-gaining his health after escaping a fatal auto crash last week.
The Gauteng paramedics confirmed that the “high profile” government official and his driver were injured in a collision last Friday night.
The collision happened on the N12 near Fochville in Gauteng when Bapela was returning from the State of the Province Address in Klerksdorp.
Confirming the incidence, ER24 spokesman Werner Vermaak said,
“It is understood that the motorcade, including several law enforcement vehicles, we’re traveling on the N12 when a truck allegedly veered into their lane. The driver of the SUV explained that he swerved in order to avoid a head-on collision and the truck collided with the side of the SUV sending it off the road into a veld next to the road.”
The impact ripped one of the SUV’s rear doors off. Both occupants explained that they were restrained in the vehicle at the time of the collision. Paramedics on the scene indicated that this may have contributed to the fact that no one was ejected from the vehicle.
However, after the incidence, reports said that the deputy minister has been in a stable condition having sustained minor injuries.
Revealing more on the level of Bapela’s recovery on Thursday, Kgosi Pontsho Maubane said Bapela was recovering well, but was not able to attend the opening of the National House of Traditional Leaders in Cape Town.
Meanwhile, the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs is hopeful that he will recover fully soon. The body also promised disciplinary actions against the truck driver who crashed into the car of Deputy Minister Obed Bapela.
The ill-fated truck driver has also been arrested. Police spokesperson Colonel Noxolo Kweza confirmed the arrest.
“A truck driver was arrested (regarding) a crash in Fochville. Police are still investigating.”
The driver was subsequently charged with negligent and drunken driving and is expected to appear in court soon.
Such measure [against the driver] was necessary because lives were almost lost as a result of the driver’s negligence, spokesperson for the deputy minister Sifiso Ngcobo said.
Recently, road accidents across major roads in the country have been on the increase. Last Saturday, five people were killed in two accidents near Newcastle.
The first accident occurred when a truck and a car collided, leaving four people dead.
The second one took place when an elderly man was spewed out from his car. The car was seen lying on its roof in a ditch next to the highway. The unknown elderly man was declared dead at the scene.