I warned them to stay away - gran says after toddlers die in car

2016-01-20 15:44
Thuleleni Sikhosana (Amanda Khoza, News24)

Thuleleni Sikhosana (Amanda Khoza, News24)

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Durban – Thuleleni Sikhosana had always warned her grandchildren to stay away from the unused cars in their neighbour's yard.

On Tuesday, her worst fears were realised when her grandchildren Bayanda Sithole, 3, and Asiphile Sithole, 3, were found dead next to one another in a red Toyota Corolla in Clermont, west of Durban. The two were cousins. 

Their relative Ayabongwa Sithole, 2, and friend Phiwokuhle Mtshali, 2, were also in the car. They are in hospital in a critical condition.

The children were playing in the car and could not get out. They are believed to have died from heat stroke.

With a slight tremble in her voice Nombulelo Sithole, 27, the children's aunt, told News24 that they went to play around noon on Tuesday.

"They went to the neighbour's house and then came back and asked for food. I gave them rice and meat. They sat on the veranda and ate their food."

Sithole said there was nothing unusual about their behaviour. After they had finished their meals they took their dishes to the kitchen and said thank you. The children told Sithole that they would walk Phiwokuhle back home next door.

That was the last time she saw them alive.

"All along we thought the children were playing next door."

Sithole said she walked to the tuck shop to get a few items, including chips for the children.

"When I got back I asked my sister where the children were. I said we should find them so that we could give them the chips.

"My sister, Nontokozo, Bayanda's mother, stood outside and called out their names and there was no response. She walked around the corner but she did not find them. She went next door and was told that the children did come but they left again.

"Bayanda’s mom went to check the car they usually played in and they were not there. When she turned around and looked inside a car which was parked in the yard on Monday, she found the children 'sleeping'."

Screams

Sithole said she heard her sister's screams and rushed to her.

"When I got there, they had taken the children to the nearest tap to pour water on them. Another man was trying to give a child CPR."

Sithole said an ambulance arrived and took the children to the KwaDabeka Clinic.

When they got there they were told Phiwokuhle and Ayabongwa were in a critical condition. They were taken to Marianhill. 

“They told us that Bayanda Sithole and Asiphile Sithole did not make it," Sithole said.  

"It feels like I am still dreaming," said a shocked Sikhosana, 56.

She had always warned the children against playing in the cars.

"I don't know what happened yesterday, this is not something that they are used to doing. When I heard the news, I thought that they had been hit by a car. I did not think that they went into the car and got stuck inside. Their mother found them slouching on one another."

Sikhosana said she did not know how they were going to cover the burial costs because the funeral policy only covered one child.

"My biggest fear is that if Ayabongwa dies in hospital, then I have to bury him too."

Ward 22 councillor, Sibongiseni Mkhize, said he had informed eThekwini Mayor James Nxumalo about the family's plight.

"Parents and children need to be careful. Children need to play in shaded areas because it is too hot. Kids love cars and parents need to make sure they keep an eye on them at all times," said Mkhize. 

Read more on:    durban

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