Relatives waiting to visit injured children sob and comfort each other

2015-01-30 00:00

SOBBING relatives yesterday lined the benches outside Edendale’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) as they waited to hear news about the condition of the children injured in Wednesday’s accident in Imbali.

As government officials filed into the ward, family and friends cried into tissues and hugged each other in the corridors, while the strangers went in to visit their critically injured children.

Philisile Njoko, an aunt of two of the children in the ICU, said she was worried about her brother Nkosinathi’s children, and would be there for her niece and ­nephew while her brother was making a statement at the police station.

Syamthando (seven) and Mbaluleki (12) were critically injured in the ­horrific accident and remained in a very serious condition.

“I am trying to be okay. I just thank God they are alive and safe,” said Njoko.

Nkosinathi later told The Witness he could not lose faith and had to believe that his children would survive.

“I hope they will make it,” he said.

Meanwhile, down the hall, five more children involved in the accident lay in the surgical ward, recovering from operations they had undergone the previous night or yesterday morning.

Phumelele Zondi said she was the mother of two children in the surgical ward, Thembeka (nine) and Anele (seven).

Zondi sat quietly next to sleeping Thembeka while she watched Anele from across the room.

With soft sobs, Zondi hid her head in her hands as officials walked along the rows of sleeping children and ­grief-stricken parents.

“She [Thembeka] is not too bad. I am just so happy she is alive,” she said.

“She is sleeping now, but she has ­spoken to me since she came out of ­surgery, but not a lot. Anele [her younger daughter in the ward] has been talking a lot about the accident.”

Zondi shuddered as she recalled how Anele told her that the driver of the bakkie had sped down the hill.

“She told me she thought the driver was speeding. She said they were all bumping into each other,” said Zondi, bursting into tears.

In the bed opposite Zondi, bright little eyes peeped from under bloodied bandages.

Amahle (five) looked from her bed as her mother, Nompumelelo Zuma, tried to stifle her sobs.

“I am not coping, but I must be strong for her,” said Zuma.

“I am very happy she is alive and I know she will pull through.”

The families of the injured children in Edendale Hospital said they were not ­angry with the driver as, although they knew she had overloaded the bakkie, the crash was not her fault.

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