Employer tells of heartbreak after workers die in crash

2019-09-23 16:39

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A KwaXimba businessman, Philani Mzulwini, has told of his agony as he saw the bodies of his employees under crushed vehicles in an accident in the area on Friday.

The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport called for a task team to look into improving road safety on Magasa Road following the crash that claimed seven lives near Nagle Dam.

Goodenough Mnyandu, Cedric Pillay, Smiso Mzolo and Sphesihle Thabethe, who worked for Maqenukane Construction, were killed when an articulated horse and trailer with two concrete rollers lost control and collided with the twin-cab they were travelling in and a car.

The driver of the car was discharged from hospital on Friday.

Mzulwini’s brother, Sbonelo, was one of five occupants of the twin-cab who survived the crash. He is in the intensive care unit at a Pietermaritzburg hospital.

The other three who are dead have not been named.

Transport MEC Bheki Ntuli said: “The road where the crash occurred needs urgent attention and signage and guardrails. A team needs to be set up to look at what measures can be implemented.

“An intersection that has a taxi rank, police station, shops and municipal offices in one vicinity requires all means of safety to be visible. We will work closely with the local leadership to address the safety challenges in KwaXimba,” said Ntuli.

Speaking to The Witness on Sunday, Mzulwini, who is subcontracted to build RDP houses in the area, said his employees were travelling to one of the sites in the area at the time of the accident.

“Arriving at the scene was a daunting and traumatic experience. All the bodies were already covered, and it was heartbreaking to watch,” he said.

“We are still trying to process this. To lose four employees at once is devastating. It feels like a bad dream, like we are going to wake up tomorrow and find them at work.”

Mzulwini said he had just arrived back from Johannesburg on Friday when he was informed that his workers had been involved in a bad accident.

“When I arrived at the scene, they were already gone. I couldn’t even recognise my car. It was crushed beyond recognition,” he said.

He said his brother has broken ribs as well as lung and spinal injuries.

Zwelihle Thabethe, Sphesihle’s brother, said the family found his body at a Pinetown mortuary.

“We were told about the accident at about 9 pm on Friday. We only found the body at the mortuary on Saturday morning,” he said. “We are all heartbroken. It happened so unexpectedly and it’s all still unbelievable for the family.”

“Sphesihle was an all-rounder. He was everything to me. You could ask him for anything, and he would do it,” he said.

Musa Mkhize, the ward councillor in the area, said together with officials from the KZN transport department, they will be meeting with families to discuss funeral arrangements.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  kwaximba accident
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