Trampled by a dump truck

2012-08-02 00:00

DESPERATE to earn money for a pair of new school shoes, a teenager from Cinderella Park, near Eastwood, bunked school yesterday to sift through waste at the New England landfill site.

But the decision proved fatal for Nqobile Maphumulo, who died after she slipped and fell under a moving dump truck.

Nqobile’s mother, Zanele Maphumulo (38), a waste picker, told The Witness that her daughter had skipped school because was saving to buy school shoes.

She was in Grade 7.

Nqobile had made R7 on Tuesday and was determined to make more money yesterday.

Maphumulo, the mother of seven children including Nqobile, covered her face with her jersey as her daughter’s body lay on the dumpsite yesterday.

She was busy at another section of the dumpsite when she heard news of the accident involving her daughter. At the scene, no amount of comfort could calm her down as Nqobile’s body lay covered by white plastic sheeting.

Fellow female waste pickers gathered around Maphumulo as they waited over two hours for a mortuary van.

Maphumulo said Nqobile was an “adorable” child who loved singing.

“She was happy and laughed a lot.

“She’d usually go there [the dumpsite] when schools closed [for holidays].”

Maphumulo said Nqobile had bought her five skirts a few weeks ago, using money she had earned from items scavenged at the landfill.

“My child never disappointed me. She had so much strength in her.

“I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to go back to work at the dumpsite, knowing that’s where my daughter died.”

Maphumulo said she made R250 on a good day.

A relative, Lucky Ngubane, said: “We come from a poor family and this is what we do to get by. There are no jobs.”

Picking paper, plastic and glass, which they sell to recycling companies, is how they make a living.

Apparently Nqobile was next to the truck when she slipped and was run over.

An eyewitness, the Wasteman truck did not stop after the accident.

“This is after we screamed and told him that he had hit someone,” said an angry waste picker who would not be named.

A truck driver returned to the scene later, accompanied by his attorney.

Netcare911 spokesperson Chris Botha said Nqobile was unresponsive when paramedics arrived. “She died on impact due to the extensive injuries she sustained.”

Wasteman general manager Heidi Ford said the matter was under investigation. Police are investigating a culpable homicide case.

• gabisile.ngcobo@witness.co.za

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