Bakkie crash survivor speaks

2008-10-30 00:00

One of the survivors of the bakkie crash that left four young people dead, including the St Charles College headboy, has shed some light on events before the accident in Pietermaritzburg in the early hours of Sunday morning.

St Charles pupil Sphamanda Bhengu (18), who is recovering in Medi-Clinic’s intensive care unit, said he and three friends got a lift in the Ford Bantam bakkie after they were left stranded in Durban.

He was talking to The Witness yesterday afternoon through his mother, Pinky Bhengu.

Sphamanda said he and two class-mates, headboy Samukele Khumalo (17) and Sphelele Khumalo (17), and Alexandra High matric pupil Nkululeko Lincoln Shinga (19) had been to Durban to watch the Currie Cup rugby final. After the game, the vehicle that they had hired to take them to and from Durban did not arrive.

“Initially there were five of them who hired the car to take them to Durban. One of them didn’t come back because he lives in Durban.

“After realising that their transport was not arriving they got a lift from the bakkie (which had seven passengers plus a driver),” said Bhengu.

The Ford Bantam bakkie overturned on the N3 near Pietermaritzburg. The vehicle had no canopy and the passengers on the back were flung off.

Samukele, who was also the captain of his school’s first rugby team, died in Northdale Hospital shortly after the accident. Three young women, Nomonde Hadebe (18), a Girls’ High pupil, Mancane Thobisile Ngcobo (25) and Slindile Mangathi (25), died at the scene.

Bhengu said her son does not know how the accident happened, and that he only realised he had been involved in an accident after he regained consciousness in hospital.

Sphelele was discharged from Medi-Clinic on Tuesday, while Shinga has also been discharged from Northdale Hospital.

Police Inspector Freddy Jonker said four survivors are still in Medi-Clinic and Grey’s Hospital.

Bhengu said her son, who plays for the St Charles second rugby team, and his four friends, including the one who lives in Durban, are passionate about the sport.

Bhengu said the driver of the bakkie has visited her son in hospital, and is sorry about what happened. Four counts of culpable homicide have been opened, but no one has yet been charged.

bhans@witness.co.za

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