Angry residents wanted to beat me up, says grader operator

2013-02-07 00:00

PENSIONER Boland Sibisi (72) had never had an accident in his 53-year-long career as a machine operator.

On Tuesday morning, all of that changed when the grader he was driving ploughed into an Edendale home, crushing three-year-old Wandile Ngcobo to death.

“All my life working as machine operator, I have never experienced an accident,” Sibisi said from his hospital bed yesterday before going into theatre.

“I don’t have words to express how sorry I am to the family of the little boy who died … and I hope that my boss will be kind enough to compensate them.

“I am heartsore about the death of the child. If there was anything I could have done to save him, I would have done it.”

Sibisi said he had been grading the Tafuleni Road in Snathing on Tuesday morning when the brakes failed on a steep slope.

“I could see schoolchildren on the road and I tried to use the blade of the grader to stop it but nothing worked.”

It was the third time he had worked on that road.

“When I lost control of the machine I thought I was going to die. I did not intend to kill anyone and that’s why I stayed inside the grader trying to control it until it landed on the house.”

Sibisi, of Maswazini in the Vulindlela area, said he was still trying to come to terms with the fact that a young child had died.

Even though he was a pensioner, he had continued to work to earn money to renovate his home.

“I worked for the Umgeni Water Board and during my tenure there I was awarded a grade 11 certificate because of my excellent work as machine operator.”

Sibisi described how angry community members had wanted to beat him up, blaming him for the accident.

Others, however, had sympathised with him.

The father of six said he had stopped drinking many years ago and had adopted a healthy lifestyle since 1958.

“I am saying this because while I was lying on the ground in pain, some people at the scene were mumbling that perhaps I had been drinking,” said Sibisi.

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