Tragic end to imam's family outing

2012-02-27 12:09

Cape Town - A family outing to the beach ended tragically for a Muslim cleric’s family on Sunday.

Imam Uthmaan Johnstone, 43, and his 3-year-old daughter died after their white Toyota station wagon collided with a red BMW sedan on Baden Powell Drive near Muizenberg at about 09:30.

The cause of the accident is still not clear.

According to ER24 spokesperson Derrick Banks, two children from the Johnstone family were airlifted and another two were transported by ambulance to the Red Cross Children’s Hospital in Rondebosch.

Critical condition

EMS spokesperson Angelique Jordaan said the four children were in a critical condition. Seven adults were also taken by ambulance to the Groote Schuur and Victoria Hospitals.

“Both drivers were trapped in their vehicles and had to be cut free with mechanical devices,” said Jordaan.

It was unclear how many people were involved in the accident. According to Jordaan, there were 13 people involved. Police spokesperson Captain Frederick van Wyk said there were five people in the BMW and seven in the Toyota. Johnstone’s cousin, Mogamat Johnstone said at the scene that 14 people were involved in the accident.

He said his cousin and his family were heading to Muizenberg for a family outing.

“That man married me. He named my children,” said a grieving Johnstone.

“Today you see him, tomorrow he is gone.”

Johnstone feared that two of the children had possibly sustained brain damage.

Culpable homicide

Details about the BMW passengers have not been made public.

When reporters visited the scene, the red and white vehicles were both badly crumpled wreckages. The bodies of Imam Johnstone and his daughter were under a blue blanket in the road. Some distance away, a few men stood fishing, unaware of the tragedy.

Several police and traffic officials were on the scene and traffic was diverted away from the Muzenberg side of Baden Powell Drive for a while.

Van Wyk said police are investigating a case of culpable homicide.

  • naadir.daniels - 2012-02-27 12:44

    This was a tragedy to the muslim community and cape town community on a whole since Imaan Johnston was such an asset to his community. He set up a school and many community projects that not only benefited the muslim community but also the Belhar and greater CT community on a whole. This was one of the biggest Janazah's(funeral) proceedings I have gone to with most people sticking around from the original time set for 6.30 to well after 10 o clock last night. The wait was for his wife to say her last goodbyes after she had woken up from a coma. The first words uttered from her was and I quote " From Allah do we come and to him is our return" She then informed the Imaam tasked with informing her of the type of husband he was. Never having raised his voice and helping with the dishes, laudry and had all the time for his kids. He is definitely a role-model that will be missed.

      LouisC - 2012-02-28 08:40

      Sounds like the Imam was a well loved man and a pillar of the community. Condolences to you, the family and everyone to whom he was important.

  • Jason - 2012-02-27 13:23

    God working in mysterious ways again? Never nice to read or hear about things like this I hope the doctors manage to save the 4 other children.

  • Piet - 2012-02-27 13:31

    Not speed but once a again people not giving a rats about traffic laws!

      Rodney - 2012-02-27 16:29

      Not sure what evidence you are basing your conclusion on, one or both cars may well have been speeding, as commented earlier, there was sand and water on the road which may have contributed to the accident. The only violation reported was the fact one of the cars had to many passengers. Probably best to let the powers that be work out exactly what happened before throwing your hat in the ring so to speak. I may be wrong, but i find it best to gather as much info as possible before making comments, as those who don't wait usually look stupid when the truth comes out. Jumping in boots and all may feel good in the short term but mostly you land up with egg on your face.

  • Mohsin - 2012-02-27 14:43

    Allah grant them jannatul firdaus

  • ronel.cousins - 2012-02-27 21:54

    This is so sad,so shocking!So sorry to the family,many,so sorry ...

  • brionyl.french - 2012-02-28 05:37

    If we had street cleaners like when I was a kid, alot less accidents would happen... Also better planning, Sad that so many lives get lost because Government fails in the smallest ways... Street sweepers and clean walking paths, could be done by prisoners...FREE LABOUR

  • Deon - 2012-02-28 07:27

    They say:"The cause of the accident is still not clear." I drive that road daily and a couple of years ago I saw a similar incident when one of those "supercharged" box type 325 BMWs overtook me on a solid line and hit a truck loaded with sand. On this occassion it was again one of those BMWs and I am quite sure it is speed and wreckless driving which caused the accident.

  • Ruqayah - 2012-02-28 08:20

    The driver of the BMW overtook 3 cars, and then crashed into the oncoming car of the Imam. There were acually 4 adults, and 8 children involved. The children are still critical in hospital.

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