An accidental heroine

2013-01-21 00:00

A PIETERMARITZBURG woman with no medical background or first aid knowledge tried frantically to save several strangers who were victims of a horrific accident on Saturday night,

Seven people were killed in the head-on collision between two vehicles in Caluza Road, kwaMpumuza, at about 8.40 pm. It was the most horrific crash in a weekend of carnage that saw 18 people die on KZN roads.

Ntombi Mnyaka (24) told The Witness she was walking to a shop to buy airtime when she witnessed the collision.

“I witnessed the accident and I was the first on the scene to help. I couldn’t stand and watch people screaming for help.”

Some of the occupants of both vehicles were flung onto the road, while others were trapped inside.

Mnyaka said she couldn’t explain where she got the strength to pull the injured men from the mangled wreckage.

One of her friends, Deli Dlamini, assisted her in pulling out three injured men, one from a VW Golf and two from a VW Fox.

Two of her other friends could not stand the sight of the bloodied bodies and fled.

“When I reached the vehicles the driver of the Fox was still breathing and we pulled him and his passenger out ...

“One passenger was trapped and we couldn’t pull him out. We went to the Golf and found a passenger inside, and we pulled him out too.”

Mnyaka said she was oblivious to the blood and the possibility that she might hurt herself in the wreckage.

“I saw a Renault Megane and a VW Fox going up on both lanes to Sweetwaters and the Golf was coming from the opposite direction. It was driving on the same lane as the Fox and collided.

“I wish I could have stopped the accident, but I had no control over what was happening on the road,” Mnyaka said.

Dlamini said accidents were common on that stretch of road and that speed humps and traffic lights were needed to stop them from happening. Another friend, Neliswa Hlela, said she was traumatised.

“I couldn’t believe what I observed; people dying in front of me. I am still shocked. I ran away because I was horrified,” said Hlela.

The Witness confirmed the names of three of the deceased.

They are Malulu Mpulo (45), a tavern owner and guitarist, his brother in-law Themba Mkhize (44), who was driving the VW Fox, and their friend Mthokozisi Sibisi (38).

The names of the other four victims could not be confirmed yesterday.

Mpulo’s wife Phumzile said her husband had been at the tavern to play his guitar with friends.

“I think they were transporting his friends home when the accident happened. He was a loving husband who loved his three children.”

Mkhize’s wife Ntokozo was still trying to make sense of what had happened.

“We’re shocked. He came back from work and told me that he was going to a braai with his colleague,” she said.

Sibisi’s mother Bashilo was too distraught to comment. Her son was unemployed and had no children.

KZN Transport MEC Willies Mchunu said it was unbelievable and unacceptable that 18 people could be killed in two days.

Other accidents included one on the M13 in Hillcrest where a car overturned after being rear-ended by a truck. Three people died and one was admitted to hospital.

In the Chively area, a truck lost control on the R103 and three people were killed. On the R66 near Pongola bridge a bakkie lost control and crashed, killing four people.

In Estcourt a pedestrian was knocked down by a car and died on the scene. Police are investigating a case of culpable homicide.

An independent investigator has been appointed to deal specifically with the Pietermaritzburg accident.

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