KEETMANSHOOP – Police in //Kharas region have opened a case of negligent and reckless driving against an unlicensed driver who reportedly caused an accident involving nearly 70 workers of the Namibia Industrial Development Agency (NIDA) on Tuesday evening. Sixty-seven workers survived with serious to minor injuries when the trailer they were being transported in overturned at the Naute Dam outside Keetmanshoop.
The trailer, which was attached to a tractor, was also found to be unroadworthy. According to the //Kharas crime investigations coordinator, Deputy Commissioner Chrispin Mubebo, the driver Alex Rooi (36) lost control of the tractor while he was transporting fellow workers back to their living quarters.
The passengers, aged between 20 and 46, were taken to the Keetmanshoop state hospital with an assortment of injuries. “The driver of the tractor is unlicensed, only possessing a letter from the company to operate the tractor and the tractor and trailer are both unroadworthy,” he continued. Mubebo also said police have opened a case of reckless and or negligent driving against the driver by virtue of contravening Act 22/1999 of the Road Traffic Act. When asked if any fine has been issued for illegally transporting passengers in a trailer in terms of the law, Mubebo explained that this cannot be done at this stage.
“Procedurally, criminal investigators must now first compile all charges related to the incident and refer them to the prosecutor general to decide on which charges the suspect can be prosecuted,” he said. The health ministry’s chief medical officer, Rufanus Kooper, upon enquiry, said 63 patients were seen at the Keetmanshoop hospital, of which only one was transferred to Windhoek with a severe fracture.
“The rest of them are in a stable medical condition and discharged as they have only shown soft tissue injuries,’’ he said. NIDA spokesperson Wessel Nanuseb in the meantime informed New Era that his office is in the process of preparing a proper media release on the incident. In late 2013, about 139 employees were involved in a similar incident at the Aussenkehr grape farm when the truck trailer they were being transported in overturned.