Fields Hill victims ‘have moved on’

2015-06-09 06:00
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THE victims of the fatal Fields Hill accident still keep in contact and have forgiven the truck driver responsible.

Karen Janisch, who heads up the Fields Hill Helping Hands organisation, which has assisted the affected families since the horrific crash, said the families who maintain regular contact with each other have “moved on with their lives”.

“I met with most of the families about two weeks ago and they are looking very well. Most of them have dealt with the disaster and have tried to move on with their lives. They have done very well under the circumstances,” said Janisch.

She said earlier this year she visited Sanele May, the Swazi-national who was behind the wheel of the truck, at a South Coast prison.

In September 2012, the truck hurtled down Fields Hill after its brakes failed. May took the first off-ramp towards Richmond Road, Pinetown. It is here where his truck went through the intersection, smashing into two cars and four minibus taxis, killing 22 people immediately. Another two people later died in hospital. He pleaded guilty to 31 charges in the Durban high court in November 2014 including culpable homicide, fraud, entering South Africa illegally and possession of fake driver’s licence.

“Two of the families joined me and the emotions ran high on both sides. There was such forgiveness from two women, Zodwa Cele, who lost her daughter and Ntomi Zuma, who was a survivor. There are more families who want to meet with him and say, ‘I forgive you’.”

Helping Hands, which initially started with 10 volunteers, is now managed by three people dealing with issues “as and when they arise”.

The organisation has become more than a simple support group and has played a central role in many of the victims lives from hosting baby showers to being invited to weddings, hosting Christmas parties for the children and assisting in the victims with their Road Accident Fund claims.

“I ?think the families will get there [emotionally]. Unless you have lost someone very close and special to you, you will never understand what these families have been through. There were no goodbyes.”

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