Tatane’s wife dies in accident

2017-05-10 06:00
Andries Tatane after being shot by the police during a service delivery protest in Ficksburg in 2011.    Photo: Willem van der Berg

Andries Tatane after being shot by the police during a service delivery protest in Ficksburg in 2011. Photo: Willem van der Berg

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Tragedy has again struck the family of slain Free State community activist Andries Tatane. His wife, Rose, has been killed in a car ­accident. Her death leaves her son an orphan and the family ­devastated.

Lefu Tatane (47), Rose’s brother-in-law, said the family was informed about Rose’s death on Monday, 1 May.

He said the driver of the vehicle Rose had been travelling in had apparently lost control of the vehicle on a sharp curve in the road in Bela-Bela village in the Berea ­District, Lesotho.

Both Rose and the unidentified driver died.

Rose died just 17 days after the sixth commemoration of the tragic killing of her husband, who was shot dead during a service delivery protest in Ficksburg on 13 April 2011.

The grievance at the heart of the protest was the inability of the Setsoto Local Municipality to resolve the longstanding non-delivery of water. Andries was one of the many concerned protestors who marched against the alleged corruption at the municipality.

The protestors also demanded access to clean water, attention to sewage spillages and the eradication of bucket toilets in the Meqheleng township.

The Tatane family maintains that Andries died in vain.

Lefu said Rose had died without seeing the change that her husband had fought and died for in 2011.

“Andries died in vain and Rose never got to see the fulfillment of government promises to improve conditions, including access to clean water,” he said.

He said Andries’ death was in vain despite efforts made by the Free State government to ease the loss of a beloved family member who was also the sole breadwinner.

“Rose lived in Boitumelo township and, as we speak, there is no running water,” Lefu explained.

The family believes that there has been no justice for Andries, as the state did not find anyone guilty. Eight Free State policemen were arrested on charges of assaulting and killing Andries. The accused were Nicodemus Israel Moiloa, Jonas Skosana, Mothusi Magano, Mphonyana Ntaje, Olebogeng Mphirime, Solomon Moeketsi, Kanathasen Munsamay and Isaac Finger.

They were all acquitted, an event the Tatane family has described as a betrayal of justice.

“Rose’s death has poked old wounds and aggravates the conditions.

“The couple’s ten year old son, Molefe, is inconsolable. Her death has left a huge dark cloud of death hanging over us,” Lefu said.

According to the Tatane family, Rose had been travelling with an unidentified male friend to Bela-Bela to visit family when the accident occurred.

She had worked as a cleaner at the Setsoto Municipality following the death of Andries.

While the grief-stricken Tatane family prepares for Rose’s burial on Saturday (13/05), Lefu said residents were still struggling to access clean water and sewage leaks all over the township.

He described Rose as a loving and courageous woman who had been a pillar of the Tatane family.

The DA in the Free State has expressed its condolences to the Tatane family.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with her family as they grieve their loss.”

Rose had been actively involved in highlighting inefficiencies in service delivery and holding the authorities accountable.

She did this to ensure that her husband’s legacy was kept alive and the cause he fought for was not abandoned.

She had worked tirelessly in trying to ensure that her husband’s death was not in vain.

“Ficksburg residents still receive poor basic services, especially water and sanitation,” said Patricia Kopane, DA leader member of parliament.

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