I am relieved I have seen her – daughter of ANC bus crash victim

2016-04-19 18:54
Families of the 10 killed in the ANC bus crash mourning at the mortuary. (Genevieve Quintal, News24)

Families of the 10 killed in the ANC bus crash mourning at the mortuary. (Genevieve Quintal, News24)

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Johannesburg – The last time 57-year-old Daphney Mnisi Linda’s daughter spoke to her, she was at the beach in Port Elizabeth before getting on to the bus that was supposed to take her home from the ANC’s manifesto launch at the weekend.

Linda was one of the 10 people killed when a bus left the N1 and overturned between Winburg and Ventersburg in the Free State on Sunday.

Her daughter, Refilwe Mnisi, was at the Germiston Mortuary on Tuesday, where families had gathered to officially identify their loved ones. She was accompanied by her father, uncle and cousin.

She said, before seeing her mother’s body, officials had showed the family a photo of her.

"The picture scares you more than seeing her live because the picture had some sort of glitter which made her appear scarier than... when I saw her [body]…

"[In the picture], she seemed worse. She looked like a ghost. She looked like she was severely injured, painfully so, but when I actually saw her, she looked like someone who had just died from an accident. But she appeared different… she looked swollen."

Mnisi said her mother had internal bleeding.

In shock

Asked how her father was doing, Mnisi said he was in shock and could not even talk. "He can’t do anything. We came with my uncle and he is busy calming him down."

The bodies of the 10 people killed were escorted from the Free State to Germiston by Free State Transport MEC, Butana Komphela on Tuesday.

Gauteng Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi Malobane met the convoy on the border of the two provinces.

ANC Gauteng chairperson Paul Mashatile, provincial secretary Hope Papo, Ekurhuleni regional chair Mzwandile Masina, and Ekurhuleni Mayor Mondli Gungubele met the families at the mortuary.

When Mnisi arrived at the mortuary she wailed as she made her way into the building, but after seeing her mother’s body she said she felt relieved.

"I am relieved I have seen her. She is my mother. I was initially crying for something I wasn't even sure about, but now I am strong. There is nothing I can do about the situation," she said.

Swapping seats

Mnisi fought back tears as she described seeing the person who had given birth to her.

While families were identifying the bodies, prayers and singing could be heard from inside the mortuary.

Free State police on Monday confirmed that two drivers were swapping seats while the bus was moving. Lieutenant Malebo Khosana said a 31-year-old driver was briefly detained. The second driver was still in hospital in Welkom.

Regarding the reports about the bus drivers, Mnisi said she was not sure about it, calling it hearsay.

"But when my mom called us, she said the drivers had asked for three hours to rest, and that is the last time we spoke to her. She never phoned us again.

"She said they were still collecting water and [were] alone…. So that's all I can say. Afterwards, I could no longer reach my mother's phone."

Joint memorial

Mashatile announced on Tuesday that a joint memorial would be held for the 10 ANC members at 14:00 on Thursday at the Civic Centre in Vosloorus.

A joint funeral service would then be held for nine of the deceased on Saturday at the Keditselane Recreation Centre.

One of the deceased, Vusi Nkabinde, would be laid to rest in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal, on Sunday.

Masina thanked everyone who had offered their support and condolences to the families and the party. He also thanked the Free State government and the police for their assistance.

"Losing someone from any family is never an easy process, it’s a traumatic experience but we are here as the ANC… to make sure we comfort them," he said. "All of us wish there was no accident, but the fact is God decided that on that day there was going to be an accident.

Five men and five women were killed in the horrific accident. They are Sphamandla Gedle, Simphiwe Nhlapho, Tiisetso Ntsilo, Sesi Mtshali, Sana Sibeko, Mphikeleli Malindi, Gugulethu Sithole, Vusi Nkabinde, Daphney Linda and Sicelo Kheswa.

Read more on:    anc  |  bloemfontein  |  accidents

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