Where is she? - boy at mom's coffin

2012-07-22 22:38

Malalane - Sydwell Khoza, 9, couldn't stop crying when he saw the photo of his mother, Lilian Khoza, on her coffin.

"I want my mother. Where is she?" he wailed, running up to the casket before relatives and paramedics tried to calm him down.

His mother was one of 24 Mpumalanga farmworkers who were buried on Saturday after being killed when a coal train crashed into their truck.

Comforting the mourners at the funeral at Kamhlushwa Stadium, gospel queen Rebecca Malope told them that she was once a farmworker.

"I know what it's like to work on a farm. I was a farm worker at the age of 11. We would be transported in trucks and tractors. What amazes me is that farmworkers are still being treated the same as 30 years ago," said Malope, 44.

Malope, who has just released her 33rd album, originally comes from KaNyamazane outside Mbombela.

"I was working at Alkmaar farm, which is an orange farm. We lived in an area called Famba-famba. I was staying in room number 10 with many people. There were at least more than 10 in a tiny room,"said Malope.

When she sang a song called Angingedwa (I'm not alone), the crowd stood up and danced.

The farmworkers were killed at a railway crossing between Hectorspruit and Malalane on Friday, 13 July, while on their way to harvest oranges.

Musa Mbowane, whose brother died in the crash, said Malope's singing and talking about her childhood was soothing.

Missed work

"My brother is dead. I was supposed to be on that truck that day, but I missed work. That's why I'm alive.

"It helped to know that even though Rebecca is famous now, she started out working like us and knows what it's like working on a farm in this country,"said Mbowane.

Public Enterprise Minister Malusi Gigaba told the mourners that the accident was a wake-up call for government to strengthen legislation against improper transportation and farmer workers rights.

"Not only the truck driver has to account for these deaths, but the truck owner and the farmer all have to be arrested and prosecuted for they all seemed to be negligent, which ended in the death of our beloved community members," said Gigaba.

Chairperson of the potfolio committee on transport and president of the South African National Civics Organisation (SANCO), Ruth Bhengu, said black farmworkers were being transported like potatoes.

"Our black farmer workers are being transported like potatoes, that's why they died like this.

In this democracy we fought for, people are still being transported like animals.

I also heard that the very same farmworkers are now being transported by a tractor after the accident. This needs to be stop," said Bhengu.

Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza promised to help children orphaned by the accident.

  • nofikathiniskeyi.eunice - 2012-07-22 23:55

    am very very sorry for all of you lost the famelys and friend but dont forget that God always on us ngalamazwi ndithi thuthuzelekani bayekeni baphumle unikile wabuya wathatha futhi akathathi angabeki nto apho athathe khono mhabalale ngoxolo

      michil.chegwidden - 2012-07-23 06:50

      Arwin Who do you think you are questioning GOD, you are the same as Rebecca gaining publicity for herself, may GOD have mercy on you all

      sarel.brits - 2012-07-23 11:40

      @ Arvin Funny how people blame God for everything that goes wrong but refuse to follow his rules, Your like a little child whose Parent tells them not to stick their finger in electrical wall plug or not to tease the dog and when you get shocked or the dog bites you blame Daddy....or the dog. When this truck driver stepped on the accelerator or neglected to stop he made a choice that affected not only him but it was still his choice not God’s choice, God gave you intelligence and a free will with all the pro’s and con’s that goes with it, what outcome do you expect if you drive into a train?. Would you willy-nilly walk in front of a 18 wheeler truck? No? well there is God saving your life, but it is still your own free will that decided if you want to listen to God. The Great thing about God is He is there to pick me up after I have made the wrong choice, God can turn the worst situation so that something good can come out of it. I can not imagine my life without the anchor the love and caring of God and of my Lord Jesus Christ.

      zambezi.river - 2012-07-23 12:42

      @Sarel..........and I suppose if you follow all Gods rules nothing bad will happen to U, R MY FRIEND A TWAT

  • markhams.hudivhannyimudanamafhungo - 2012-07-23 00:14

    is SANCO suggesting that the farmworkers be transported by quantums?

  • eddie.serane - 2012-07-23 00:51

    This is sad

  • irene.buthelezi.1 - 2012-07-23 01:21

    Wonder when Bhengu and Gigaba will set up an enquiry into the taxi industry or is only the farmers they're after?

      rob.baggaley - 2012-07-23 09:07

      Ja, you never hear of this kind of coverage or sentiment expressed @ the funerals for taxi victims.

  • mbulelo.pikoli - 2012-07-23 01:28

    Be strong boy this is sad

  • Elvistorams - 2012-07-23 01:55

    It is sad indeed,i also worked in the farm b4 in 2002 mid-year when school was closed.we were transported by a 20m long truck and we were more than 100 peoples in each trip to and from the farm.i certainly wish farmers can copy big companies such as group 5 and buys buses that can be their transport means.that shows respect and makes a lot of money they can afford that.i guess farmworkers are not repected enogh and are regarded s hardcores and uneducated,even the tym is not like at the factory company.they start working the moment they arrive and knock off when its dark and cnt see the distance.serious majors needs to b taken here,i knw this i once worked there.I feel sorry 4the young boy,may all the deceased souls rest in peace.

  • jimi.harrison.7 - 2012-07-23 05:39

    Don't forget these workers applied for the work! NOBODY forced them. Who must do the work then? The farmer alone? Wake up people! This would not have happened if the stupid driver had stopped at the crossing!!! Finish and klaar!

      carpejugulim - 2012-07-23 06:23

      Absolutely devastating for the families left behind but I have to agree jimi, I am sure that the workers were forced onto the back of the vehicle ... not. Yes the farmer owns the vehicle but he cannot be held liable for people that choose not to obey the road rules by not stopping at a level crossing and he cannot be held liable for workers that choose to catch a ride on the back of a vehicle.

      Clayton Richard Delport - 2012-07-23 08:18

      And still there ignorant comments reflect how dumb they really are and one sided, the farmer was not involved in the accident it was your black comrade who was driving, just like the one in cape town who stopped on a crossing with kids just like the bus crash in durbs the other day, instead of pointing fingers at white people rather shut your faces and feel sorry for the ones lost and learn how to drive!

      pearl.boasi - 2012-07-23 08:41

      I agree with you Jimi. The solution here is to place boom gates at all level crossing that will close when a train is closeby and opens after it has passed. To stop brainless drivers from endangering people's lives

  • maureen.churchill.9 - 2012-07-23 06:14

    I am so sorry for your loss, the pain in your heart must be unbearable.

  • Berto En Petra Mostert - 2012-07-23 06:37

    Sad story! Human beings should not be transported on bakkies/trucks! Even here in PE bakkie loads of children are transported to schools in town! - up to 20 children in a bakkie! SO PLEASE DON'T ONLY BLAME FARMERS!!!

  • Enid Molebatsi - 2012-07-23 06:53

    May da Almighty God b with u boy *sad*

  • retha.vosloo.5 - 2012-07-23 07:19

    How stupid to blame the farmer. It was the driver who didn't stop. He could think for himself. Stop being racist. It is terrible!!! This accident. It is not that bad to be transported at the back of a truck or tractor. Remember it is a farm. I'm sure all these crazy 'complainers' never experienced a farm. Is it the ANC who (again) see some 'points' in this terrible terrible accident???

      Nqobile Khakhatha - 2012-07-23 07:50

      Very SAD for the Boy and all that lost loved ones. STUPID people are those with no sympathy for loss of family breadwinners! Farmers run businesses and if i in construction must buy a bus to carry my people so can the farmers. You continue as if farmers are more special than everyone else. wake up they are people and stop this DUMB obsession or is farmer another word for white? not in my dictionary!! Farmers are rich they can buy proper transportation for their workers, I also work hard and must do the same for the safety of human live. The DRIVER was WRONG!! The FARMER must PROVIDE better TRANSPORT!

      nomcebo.k.kubheka.3 - 2012-07-23 08:22

      How stupid to blame the farmer excuse me mam, we blame the farmer because He doesn’t have the decency to pay proper wages for his worker to afford better transportation, He only cared about himself making money. If he cared for his employees surely he would have put a better transport system in place. This has got nothing to do with race it has everything to do with white people treating black people as thou they were animals. If it was your relative who died in this crash you wouldn’t be so lenient on the farmer now will you. As long as white people still treat black people like slaves the race issue will never stop…

      chris.shield - 2012-07-23 09:14

      Umm, I hate to point out the obvious but whether these workers had been in an airconditioned luxury coach or the back of an open truck wouldn't have made an ounce of difference to being hit by a coal train. It's the drivers fault for not stopping at a level crossing! That said my condolences to the families, it is a terrible tragedy..

  • Rashida Patel - 2012-07-23 07:23

    A really heartbreaking reality in our south africa. Sad for the little boy ,and all other children like him

  • Pixie86 - 2012-07-23 07:40

    By far the busiest article ever! Crying boy, promoting rebecca malope, missing work. Pick and angle and stick to it.

  • harold.parsons.37 - 2012-07-23 07:42

    I cannot believe that a responsible politiciam would utter the rubbish this Malusi Gigaba has done he should be ashamed of himself and resign. We cannot keep having to listen to this garbage let the court decide who is responsible you ANC idiot. If Zuma was serious he should chase you out of

  • harold.parsons.37 - 2012-07-23 07:42

    I cannot believe that a responsible politiciam would utter the rubbish this Malusi Gigaba has done he should be ashamed of himself and resign. We cannot keep having to listen to this garbage let the court decide who is responsible you ANC idiot. If Zuma was serious he should chase you out of the party.

  • rainbownationrsa - 2012-07-23 09:12


  • sarel.brits - 2012-07-23 10:59

    Sorry for the loss of life and lives changed. Just a question or 2 for THE INTELLECTUAL GIANTS of the ruling party and their equally clever followers. 1.How ells are they (White farmers) supposed to get the workers to the fields? 2.As the ANC is putting a racist spin on this do Black farmers transport their workers in luxury coaches? 3.Even if they were transported in a luxury coach and the stupid driver does not stop or the train does not stop would we not have had the same outcome? 4.What is the Government going to about black people killed by black taxi drivers? Typical of the ANC populists to use this as a platform for politicking and showing there true racist colours. But hey.... keep on voting for them you deserve the government you get.

  • gail.hayesbean - 2012-07-23 16:06

    Who was the subcontractor that the farmer contracted to transport these people? Does anyone know? Who employed the driver that had no licence and a vehicle which should not have been allowed to be used as a public transport because it had been modified? Why are these facts not known? The farmer paid the subcontractor who may or may not have been another farmer. For all we know he was a member of the ANC.

  • Steven Trollip - 2012-07-23 18:36

    Sorry to all the people that died in the accident.SANDF also carrying people at the back of a samel 50,and 20 thouse days. All the white troopers were forced to drive at the back of trucks those days.Im not sure what happens these days?

  • chantelle.joubertdreyer - 2012-07-23 21:42

    Perhaps if the farmer was government funded he could buy each one his workers their own Toyota Hilux *frown*. Hundreds of commuters die in taxi accidents every year.. More than the 24 who have passed away in this accident, (Rest in Peace dear fellow South Africans who died in such an unneccessary and reckless accident); however there are often more than 24 people in a taxi at a given time.. And that's just talking about 1 of thousands of taxis commuting on a daily basis. Its such a pity people are never going to let the apartheid / racism card go. It's like the 'joker' in a pack of playing cards.. Something to use in your favour when you need to win. If the farmer made the workers walk, it would be racist, if he transports them on the back of a vehicle, its racist, if he takes them with the tractor, its racist, if he didn't take them back into employment after the accident due to the emotional impact it had on them, it would be racist. I suggest that more time should invested in thinking how the government is going to allocate their entertainment funds to sponsor the farmers and their workers with Greyhound buses!

  • chantelle.joubertdreyer - 2012-07-23 23:24

    Ruth Bhengu you silly woman.. Is the accident below 'Potato transporting' or was the schoolbus driver being racist?!? \r\n\r\n18 sterf toe taxi reg van voor in skoolbus vasjaag\r\n\r\nBy: Wilna de Klerk en Riaan Marais \r\n\r\n2012-07-23 07:42\r\n\r\nCradock. – ’n Taxi-bestuurder het sy eie en 17 ander mense se lewens in ’n oogwink kortgeknip toe hy Saterdagoggend 17 km buite die dorp hier teen ’n skoolbus gebots het.\r\n\r\n“Die taxi, met ’n sleepwa, het net voor 06:30 ’n ander voertuig op ’n blinde hoogte verbygesteek en trompop in die skoolbus vasgejaag,” het ao. Cynthia Nkamba, polisiewoordvoerder, gesê. \r\n\r\nDie skoolhoof van die Laerskool Cradock, Willem Johannes (Wimpie) van der Merwe (53) en ’n leerder van die Cradock Voorbereidende skool, Stefanus Cornelius (SG) Ferreira (10), het in die ongeluk gesterf. Nog vier onderwysers het ernstige beserings opgedoen.\r\n\r\n\r\nGeen van die taxipassasiers wat gesterf het, was al teen gister uitgeken nie.\r\n\r\nDie toneel van die ongeluk is deur ’n ooggetuie as ’n chaos bestempel toe sy kort ná die botsing daar aangekom het.\r\n\r\n\r\nDie taxi se remmerke is 30 m ver oor die teer ingebrand tot by die wrak.

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