The Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) has said that it has learnt with shock that that the driver of the Mitsubishi Rosa that was involved in a road crash in Choma last week where 4 pupils and a teacher of Hillcrest National Technical High died on the spot was intoxicated with alcohol at the time of the accident.
In a statement released to the media by the Head of Public Relations Mr Fredrick Mubanga, RSTA said that preliminary investigations conducted by the agency have revealed that the driver, Mr Joseph Kafwimbi Mwape, was driving under the influence of alcohol contrary to section 157 of the Road Traffic Act Number 11 of the Laws of Zambia.
The statement further said that according to the blood and urine alcohol analysis conducted by the Food and Drugs Control Laboratory at the University Teaching Hospital, the specimen for Joseph Kafwimbi Mwape contained alcohol.
The blood and urine alcohol analysis further revealed that Joseph Kafwimbi Mwape’s blood contained 370 milligrams of alcohol while the urine contained 400 milligrams of alcohol indicating a minimum consumption of about 12 bottles of beer or 345 milligrams of spirit.
” The Agency is at pains to understand why the school authorities at Hillcrest National Technical High School could have allowed such a driver to be in charge of the bus and thereby compromising the safety of the pupils,” read the statement.
The urine contained 400 milligrams of alcohol indicating a minimum consumption of about 12 bottles of beer or 345 milligrams of spirit.
The Agency also questioned why the school authorities allowed pupils to be driven at night.
” It is evident that there was negligence on the part of the school authorities and the Agency therefore calls on the Ministry of General Education to institute appropriate action against the school authorities.
Such a move will ensure that school authorities take charge of the plight of the pupils in regard to road safety,” concluded the statement.
Meanwhile, FORMER pupils at Hillcrest national Technical Secondary School have raised K15, 000 to assist the families who lost pupils and a teacher last week as well as to support the pupils who were injured in the same accident in Choma last week.
So far, about K3, 000 has already been released to Livingstone based families who lost their beloved ones while pledges of about K15, 000 have been made by former pupils living in Zambia and abroad.
The former pupils have since formed an association known as Hillcrest Zambia Alumni with the main objective of raising funds to support the welfare of pupils and other projects.
Other objectives are to promote academic excellence of the School and support talented and brilliant pupils from vulnerable background to access tertiary education as well as to support sporting activities.
Hillcrest Zambia Alumni chairperson Inambao Lubinda said his Association, which was formed on March 21, 2016 with almost 200 members based in Zambia and across the world, had mobilised K15, 000 to assist the recent accident victims.
Speaking at a media briefing in Livingstone on Thursday afternoon, Mr Lubinda conveyed condolences on the untimely death of a teacher and pupils.
“When we first heard of the accident, we mobilised ourselves throughout the world to raise funeral funds through pledges from members.
“We raised about K15, 000 and we have allocated funds to deceased and those who are injured. We have decided to give K1, 000 to each family of the deceased. So far, we have issued K3, 000 to three different families. To the 11 injured, we have allocated K800 to be issued in due course,” Mr Lubinda said.
He appealed to the Government, Ministry of General Education, provincial and district educational officers, Hillcrest School management, pupils, parents and teachers to be united in the trying period.
“There should be no need of finger pointing at this stage. Secondly, all former Hillcrest pupils should come in and lessen the burden and compliment Government efforts by supporting the families.
“We are appealing to all former pupils to join the Association. We have opened an account where all funds can be deposited. The account name, is with Zanaco Livingstone, is Hillcrest Zambia Alumni and the number 5327992500132. For those who would like to get more details, they can contact me through 0967 771274, 0973 961868,” Mr Lubinda said.
He said his Association would be holding a golf Tournament at Chainama Golf Club in Lusaka to raise money for the Alumni.
Hillcrest Zambia Alumni member Dolifor Phiri said the Association had plans to mobilise more resources and organise recreation facilities for injured pupils as part of offering them trauma management.
“This is a big loss and we need to be united and our appeal is that let all come on board and render support.
“If the pupils won the Monze tournament that they were travelling to participate in when the accident happened, they were going to bring pride to us former pupils. To those who were injured, this may not be the last payment. We may sit down again and lender more financial support,” Mr Phiri said.