De Doorns bus crash upset families lives

2013-03-26 14:38
The bus crash in De Doorns (Picture: Supplied)

The bus crash in De Doorns (Picture: Supplied)

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Cape Town - A Western Cape bus crash that killed 23 people in 2010 deeply affected the lives of family members left behind, the Cape Town Magistrate's Court heard on Tuesday.

Testifying in the sentencing of bus driver Sisa Nonama, 41, two family members shared some of the difficulties they had faced.

Nonama was driving a bus from Leeu-Gamka to Cape Town in May 2010, when it crashed near De Doorns in the early hours of the morning.

He was to be sentenced on 23 counts of culpable homicide.

Johannes Dwangu, 47, testified that his 19-year-old wife was on the bus; he and his 3-month-old child were not.

"She was working at a clothing shop [at the time]. She very much contributed to the income. It's very hard [without her]. I'm self-employed," he said.

"It's very painful to me, because sometimes I get flashbacks and sometimes I find myself crying."

Dwangu, who spoke softly to the translator, said his mother was now looking after his child.

Advocate Willem Tarantal, for the State, asked if Nonama had contacted him since the accident. Dwangu replied he had not.

Also called up to testify was Portia Nolusindiso Mnqanqeni, whose 42-year-old husband died in the crash.

She was left to care for their two children, aged 15 and seven.

Mnqanqeni told the court she had been working at that stage but was fired after the accident, because she needed time off.

"It affected me a lot during that week; I lost my work. The 15-year-old is still not right and he's attending the school for slow learners," she said.

"I'm not coping very well. I'm struggling. I'm dependent on grant money. I need money for the school transport."

Magistrate Bruce Langa probed her further on her eldest child's academic progress. He asked if her child was struggling as a result of the accident.

Mnqanqeni said her child did not want to attend school after the accident.

The school had phoned to inform her that her child was troublesome.

"They said he's acting like a child who was not brought up very well and I said it could be because of the accident."

Nonama sat very still during the testimonies. He looked frail and wore a surgical mask over his nose and mouth.

The court previously heard he was HIV positive, had tuberculosis and kidney disease.

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