Horse-play caused freak accident that killed voter

2014-05-09 00:00

CASTING her vote was the last act a Pietermaritzburg woman performed before she was knocked down and killed in a freak accident believed to have been caused by horse-play on Wednesday.

Her granddaughter (4) escaped with minor injuries.

Agness Juba Ndlela (65) had just finished voting in the Smero area near Edendale when she and her granddaughter Sanelisiwe (4) were knocked down by a taxi parked outside the voting station.

The Witness understands that the taxi driver and a friend were playing around, chasing each other with a stick while the taxi was parked with its engine off. The friend allegedly touched the key in the ignition and seemingly turned on the engine.

The taxi was in gear, which made it lurch forward, knocking down Ndlela and her granddaughter as they passed in front of it. Ndlela was holding her granddaughter’s hand, and the taxi went over both of them.

Mduduzi Ndlovu, who was at the voting station at the time, told The Witness they had to lift the taxi up to try and pull them out.

“Everyone was screaming for help. Luckily the child was not injured, but she was also under the taxi screaming … No one expected it and everyone was asking how it happened.

“Many people helped to lift up the taxi and Ndlela was rushed to hospital. Sadly, she died on arrival,” said Ndlovu.

When The Witness visited the family’s home, Sanelisiwe was in the kitchen playing and singing lullabies while the neighbours, family and friends gathered in the house to mourn the death of her grandmother.

Ndlela had three grown sons, Sipho, Sifiso and Sanele. They described her as a peace-loving person.

Sipho Ndlela, her eldest son said. “She taught us respect and to not be loiterers on the street, which helped us not to abuse alcohol and smoke.”

He said they were saddened by their mother’s death as she had just cast what turned out to be her last vote. He said the family were hurt that the person believed to be a suspect was not arrested.

Her husband Elijah said, “She was in happy spirits on Wednesday morning and was looking forward to voting.”

Police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane said Plessislaer police are investigating a case of culpable homicide.

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