Bulwer families in shock

2012-08-23 00:00

“I WAS at the scene and I saw Khosi. He was lying there … quiet. I still have the picture playing in my mind.

“It doesn’t go away,” said Thembekile Mthimkhulu, mother of Khosile, one of the children who died when the bakkie they were travelling in overturned at Bulwer on Tuesday.

The crash claimed the lives of 10 children and the driver.

The mother’s eyes and tone of voice told a story of a woman in enormous pain.

Khosile (9), a grade four pupil from Donnybrook Primary school, was the second of her three children. “He loved playing with his younger brother [aged 4] as if they were the same age. He wanted to become a taxi driver,” she laughed though her tears.

Neighbours came to sing and pray to support and comfort the Mthimkhulu family.

Two houses away, another family was grieving.

One of their daughters, Sanelisiwe Chagwe (13), from the same school as Khosi, also lost her life in the crash.

Her sister, Zama (11), is fighting for her life in hospital.

When The Witness arrived at the house, their brother, Ayanda Dlamini, was standing outside. He was still in shock and would not say a word. There were tears on his face. He later walked away to call relatives, as his parents were at the hospital.

Angela Gangiah, the principal of Donnybrook Primary School, said the fatal crash was the most terrible thing she had ever experienced. Eight of the pupils who died attended the school.

“It was the worst day in my 29 years of teaching. Even though I have lost my mom and dad, this was the worst,” she said.

Gangiah received a call from her son who was at the accident scene around 4 pm on Tuesday.

“He was on his way from school when he saw the accident and recognised our school uniform. I informed the other teachers and we rushed to the scene.”

When she got there, she said, the dead were scattered all over and the survivors had been rushed to the hospital.

A mobile clinic was giving assistance.

Gangiah, who knew each child personally, couldn’t hold back the tears as she described the ordeal as a “great loss”.

“It is going to take us a very long time to get over this.”

Blessed Luanda Primary School principal Jabulisa Maphanga echoed Gangiah’s words, adding that the school was visited by a team of counsellors to speak to pupils and teachers.

Twenty-two people have died in KwaZulu-Natal roads in a space of just five days.

Speaking to grieving relatives at the Bulwer Library Hall, the MEC for Transport and Community Safety and Liaison, Willies Mchunu, said all of these accidents had been caused by human error. This one was no different.

“Even if the forensics investigate what happened, it is clear that this was [due to] human error, as speeding, overloading and using a van as a way of transport is breaking the law.

“Vans are not meant to be transporting people. There are taxis and buses to be used.”

Mchunu said he was saddened by the death of the pupils and sent his condolences to the families.

The MEC for Education, Senzo Mchunu, also sent condolences to the families.

He urged drivers to be extra cautious on the roads.

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