News24 reader touched by accident victims' plight

2015-09-03 08:19
(File: News24)

(File: News24)

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Durban – When a News24 reader read the story of an elderly Eastern Cape couple who lost all their children in a horrific bus accident, she felt she had to do something.

The 41-year-old mother of four from Glenhazel in Johannesburg, who has asked to remain anonymous, said: "As a new mother, the fact that they lost all their children hit me very hard.

"Sometimes we ask God why this is happening. I know that money cannot bring their children back, but I hope that the small contribution will make a difference in their lives.”

The woman was touched by the plight of 74-year-old Ntaba Mbane from Gqeza.

Mbane told News24 on Monday that he lost four children in the bus accident that left 53 people dead on Saturday. The bus they were travelling in reportedly drove off a cliff on the R408, between Butterworth and Willowvale.

A mass memorial service is being held in the Eastern Cape on Thursday for the 35 people.

A distraught Mbane told News24 that when he heard that his two sons and two daughters - Michael, 34, Ntombiyovuyo, 36, Siyabulela, 38, and Siphokazi, 33, - had died, he lost his mind.

He was so disorientated and afraid that he couldn’t bring himself to tell his wife Nothabile about what had happened. Instead, he called the women from his church to do it on his behalf.

Mbane’s wife was later admitted to hospital after hearing the news.

Glimmer of hope

The reader said she arrived home on Monday after shopping with her daughter and saw the News24 article.

"Usually I just read the headlines, but there was something about this story. I went into News24 and I read the entire story and it knocked me quite hard.

"I found myself thinking about the elderly couple. Now they are looking after their grandchildren, it’s too much for them. I thought maybe we could do something good and the glimmer of hope would be that maybe we can make a difference in their lives.

"I asked my husband if it would be okay for us to contribute R500 every month to the family for a year and he agreed and said that we must send emails to our neighbours to help us raise more money and donate old clothes or whatever they have."

The woman said she wanted to uplift the couple’s spirits.

"I just gave birth to twins so I have lots of baby clothes that I would love to give them. We will get some families in our community to help us as well."

When informed, Mbane said he appreciated the woman’s kindness.

"We are still struggling. My wife was discharged from the hospital yesterday and at least she is speaking now."


Mbane said he didn't have words to describe how he felt. He still felt numb.

"Tomorrow is the memorial service and some of the grandchildren do not even know what is happening. The 3 and 4-year-olds are playing around, it’s only the 18-year-old that is taking it badly."

On Monday, when Mbane spoke to New24, he had viewed the bodies of three of his children.

"I eventually got to see the last one. He was badly hurt, his head was completely unrecognisable and his bones were broken. I will never forget what I saw.”

Mbane said he felt for his wife because she still couldn't believe that their children were gone.

"She will never come to terms with it because in our culture, women do not view the dead," said Mbane.

Eastern Cape department of social development spokesperson, Gcobani Maswana, promised to facilitate communication between the two families.

Maswana said: "This is a milestone and we need more people like her. I am going to get a social worker to make sure that things happen for the family.

"We would like to see more of this in South Africa, we need people like her to assist us [in changing] the lives of ordinary South Africans."

Read more on:    durban  |  east london  |  accidents

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