PRESIDENT Michael Sata says he is saddened by the high death toll in the road traffic accident that happened on Tuesday on the Ndola-Kitwe dual carriageway.
In his message of condolences delivered by Copperbelt Minister Mwenya Musenge to the bereaved families, Mr Sata said he was saddened by the loss of many lives through increased road accidents.
Fifteen people died when a Rosa minibus heading to Ndola collided with a truck laden with bags of mealie-meal.
“The President is greatly affected especially that the Kitwe accident happened at the backdrop of another fatal accident involving a Hiace minibus travelling to Mpongwe, which overturned and killed seven people,” Mr Musenge said.
He said the high number of people dying through road accidents was a loss to Government and the nation as a whole.
Mr Musenge yesterday visited the accident victims admitted to Kitwe Central Hospital before going to the funeral houses in the company of Copperbelt Permanent Secretary Stanford Msichili.
He said he had summoned the Road Development Agency and the contractor rehabilitating the dual carriageway for a meeting to discuss the on-going road works, which were contributing to the accidents on the highway.
Kitwe District Commissioner Elias Kamanga said Government had provided logistical support towards funeral and burial of the accident victims.
Government had also arranged a mass burial programme tentatively set for today at Chingola Road Cemetery.
“So far, 14 out of the 15 people who died in the accident have been identified and burial has been set for tomorrow (today). We have put in place all the necessary arrangements,” Mr Kamanga said.
Among the deceased are three female nurses.
Meanwhile, Mr Musenge has warned public service transport operators to stop taking Government for granted on road safety.
Mr Musenge said on Thursday at the burial of four people, among them three teachers, who died in a road traffic accident in Masaiti District on Monday this week that Government was saddened with the high levels of indiscipline among public transport service operators in the country.
“If the driver who caused the accident followed rules, these people would not have died,” he said.
The Masaiti accident victims were put to rest at Milemu Cemetery in Luanshya yesterday.
The three teachers were Patience Tembo, 30, of Saint Theresa Primary School in Masaiti, Martha Mutale, 35, and Mary Kabwe, 31, both of Kayenda Primary School in Mpongwe. They were all residents of Luanshya.
The other accident victim put to rest yesterday was Chema Musipi, 27, a bus conductor of Luanshya.
Provincial Basic Teachers Union of Zambia director Wilson Maliko appealed to Government to build more houses for teachers in rural areas so that they could no longer commute to their places of work.
The burial was attended by Mr Msichili, Luanshya Mayor Nathan Chanda, Government officials and a multitude of sympathisers.