'They must not get away with it' - wife of slain train driver

2016-07-18 07:01
Tania Botha, daughter Nadia Botha and son Brandon Botha honour their father at a memorial on the platform at Netreg Station in Cape Town. (Paul Herman, News24)

Tania Botha, daughter Nadia Botha and son Brandon Botha honour their father at a memorial on the platform at Netreg Station in Cape Town. (Paul Herman, News24)

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Cape Town - The wife of a Metrorail train driver shot dead at a Cape Town train station last week, hopes justice will prevail if the two men arrested for his murder are found guilty.

"If they're guilty, I hope that they will not get away with it,” Tania Botha, 42, told News24.

“I wouldn't want any other family to go through what we're going through. My children the same, that's what they want.

"We don't want Piet to have lost his life for nothing."

A memorial service will be held for Malmesbury train driver Piet Botha, 46, in his hometown at 15:00 on Monday.

Botha was killed after conducting a training session with a younger driver at Netreg station in Bonteheuwel last Monday.

He was waiting to catch a train back when two suspects robbed him of his belongings, before shooting him at close range.

He had been a train driver for 26 years.

Tania said her two children, son Brandon, 19, and daughter Nadia, 16, have been very brave.

"They are keeping up nicely. They've been very brave but they're hurting terribly," she said.

"With everything being so sudden, I'm just trying to get everything arranged at this stage. I'm just trying to be strong for my kids' sake and get everything done."

'Wonderful father, a real joker'

Hundreds of mourners, including colleagues from Metrorail and Prasa, joined the Bothas in honouring their late father and husband on the platform at Netreg station on Thursday.

- Read more: 'Piet won't die in vain' - Memorial held for slain train driver

Many speakers described Piet as a jovial man who loved making jokes. In a light moment, one person in the crowd shouted "a real joker", causing the Botha family to laugh knowingly.

"That was very accurate," Tania said when asked about it. "I couldn't help but laugh when that lady shouted it, and my daughter is nodding her head here too.

"He was a wonderful father. He would sacrifice everything to keep his kids and myself happy, to keep other people happy."

Tania said Piet loved making his own biltong, enjoyed listening to music, and used to swim regularly.

She had kind words for Piet's employers Prasa, who broke the news to her at her offices last Monday.

"I was at work. They were actually very good. Three of their bosses came in person to give me the news. It was very hard," she said tearfully.

Support

Funeral arrangements had not been finalised yet, but Tanya said the support her family has received over the last week had been overwhelming.

"It's actually very, very hard to answer everybody. Every time I look at my phone, there's 23, 24 WhatsApp messages and people offering support.

"Piet used to acknowledge each and every person as an individual, myself as well. So it makes me feel sad because it's difficult to respond to every single message."

Tania would respond to every message once everything had calmed down.

'We will take our station back'

Two people were arrested last Monday in connection with Piet's murder, Western Cape police said. They appeared in the Bishop Lavis Magistrate's Court on Friday.

Prasa board representative William Steenkamp said on Thursday that the company would ensure security was beefed up at Netreg.

"This station is the most dangerous station in Cape Town. We are not treating it as such. It is most important that that changes, and the minister is tired of defending Prasa," he said at Piet's memorial.

"We are going to take our station back. No matter what happens, gangs can't control our station. We cannot let Piet die in vain."

WATCH:


Candles are lit and flowers hung on the spot where train driver Piet Botha was killed at Netreg station in Cape Town. (Paul Herman, News24)

Read more on:    metrorail  |  prasa  |  cape town  |  crime  |  transport

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