‘I can’t forgive him’

2011-10-03 00:00

THE driver of the taxi in which 15 people were killed on the New Greytown Road on Friday morning was avoiding rank marshals after he had jumped the queue and overloaded his taxi.

Spokesperson for Msunduzi One Taxi Association Boy Zondi disclosed this in a meeting with Mshwati municipal officials, Transport MEC Willies Mchunu and families of the deceased at the municipal offices in New Hanover yesterday.

“After discovering that the driver had jumped the queue and had also stolen passengers, and that the taxi was overloaded, the rank marshals were waiting for him at a certain spot.

“Somehow he became aware that the marshals were waiting for him and changed the normal route. That’s how he ended up killing innocent people,” Zondi said.

Thusile Shangase’s mother, Khisa, and her friend, Zibuyile Duma, were on their way to town.

Shangase told The Witness how rude the 23 year-old taxi driver — who survived the accident with only slight injuries — was to the passengers the previous day.

“I was in the same taxi on Thursday and that boy was driving like a madman. We tried to talk to him, but he became so rude that we had to keep quiet. His recklessness I can live with, but the fact that he murdered my mother … I cannot forgive him,” said Shangase.

Jabulani Masondo’s daughter, Phindile Dube (37), was on her way to work. She leaves two children.

“I can’t tell you exactly how am I feeling now. All that rings in my mind is that I’ve robbed of a wonderful daughter by a heartless taxi driver who escaped with only a scratch to the face,” Masondo said.

Sbusiso Sithole, commander of the Shanela special operations task unit of the Road Traffic Inspectorate, said taxi drivers and other motorists who break the rules of the road are declaring war on the state.

“We have decided to take a very aggressive and offensive move against those who break the road rules. We have received a report that the taxi was overloaded.

“It was meant to carry 14 passengers yet it had 19.

“Inconsiderate, reckless and negligent driving are now considered as waging war with government. Now we are going to fight fire with fire,” warned Sithole.

Mchunu expressed his anger at the number of road deaths involving taxis.

He said that in most recent accidents the drivers were in the wrong and that often they survive while their passengers die, and when they go to court they are charged with culpable homicide.

Asked if his department has considered penalising taxi owners amid speculation that they are making unreasonable demands on drivers, Mchunu said it is not easy to penalise the owners.

Mchunu said, “We have had meetings with them and they denied imposing unreasonable demands on their drivers. That is why we only have drivers to charge.

“From now until next year our newly formed Red Spot Team will be operational 24 hours and they will be focusing on the N3. If financial resources are available the team will exist beyond next year.”

A memorial service for the victims will be held at Thokoza Community Hall in Mpolweni on Thursday.

chris.ndaliso@witness.co.za

Khisa Musi Silvina Shangase (71) — pensioner

Thembi Zanele Zondi (52) — pensioner

Thabile Precious Lushozi (21) — baker

Gabisle Pretty Ndlovu — community caregiver

Phindile Priscilla Dube (37) — Shoprite packer

Zibuyile Elena Duma (68) — pensioner

Norah Ntombifikile Sidu (63) — pensioner

Linah Brown (55) — pensioner

Nlanha George Thabethe (15) — attends school

Thulasizwe Mthethwa (23)

Thokozani Sokhela

Siphiso Cele

Busisiwe Dlamini

Nomathemba Ntsholo

Hadebe — this person was only identified by her surname

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