Families demand action

2018-04-03 13:54
Some of the deceased, (from left) Mandisa Mnwabe, Nkanyiso Mncwabe and Sifiso Ndlovu.

Some of the deceased, (from left) Mandisa Mnwabe, Nkanyiso Mncwabe and Sifiso Ndlovu. (Supplied)

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The relatives of the five pedestrians who were killed when they were hit by a bakkie on Edendale Road in KwaShange on Good Friday, on Monday called for more traffic enforcement on that stretch of road.

Provincial police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said that on Friday at about 7 pm the driver of the Nissan bakkie was trying to overtake a vehicle when he noticed there was another vehicle approaching on the opposite lane.

“He tried to swerve back to his lane and lost control and knocked into five pedestrians,” said Gwala.

She said the driver also sustained injuries when he was assaulted by people who had witnessed the accident. He is recovering in hospital. Gwala said a case of culpable homicide was being investigated by Taylor’s Halt police and another case of attempted murder was opened but no arrests had been made.

The five who died are Mandisa Mncwabe (17), Sifiso Ndlovu (35), Nkan­yiso Mncwabe (26), Mzwenhlanhla Radebe (28) and Pius Mnyandu (26).

The family members, who were gathered at the community hall on Monday to finalise the memorial service arrangements for Thursday, said the entire community was still “shaken” by the tragic accident.

They said the victims had been walking home after attending a community cultural event at the local hall.

Busisiwe Ndlovu, Sifiso’s relative, said she left the Good Friday church service in a panic after she was told that Sifiso had been knocked over.

“I ran out of church to see what had happened. There were police cars everywhere and I saw the police trying to disperse a crowd of angry community members. I was even scared to get any closer,” she said.

Nokukhanya Ndlovu, Mandisa Mncwabe’s aunt, said a relative went to the scene and had seen Mandisa take her last breath. She said Mandisa was walking home with two of her sisters, aged 15 and 16 years old.

“The 15-year-old was injured on both her legs, she has broken bones and a head injury,” she said.

Nokukhanya said the bakkie had missed the other sibling by inches.

“She was walking right behind Mandisa. She is still horrified by the incident and is reluctant to sleep because the whole thing replays in her head whenever she closes her eyes,” she said.

Zimele Radebe, Mzwenhlanhla’s older brother, said the accident had left them shocked and terrified.

“We always read about such accidents in newspapers, but nothing like this has happened in this community. Our youngsters are now afraid to go anywhere near to that road,” he said.

The community members said the driver was assaulted after allegations arose that he was driving under the influence of alcohol.

Another community member said the road initially had numerous speed humps to control speeding vehicles but residents who lived along the road had destroyed the speed humps claiming that the turbulence from heavy vehicles driving over the humps was cracking their houses.

Another relative, Dolly Mncwabe, said their community was neglected as it is in a rural area.

“Maybe if emergency services were stationed closer and were able to attend the scene faster some people would have survived.

“There are also no traffic cameras or officers along this road so vehicles just come flying down,” she said.

Ward five councillor Nkosinathi Mbanjwa said Friday’s cultural event was the first of its kind and had excited the community before it took a tragic twist following the accident later that day.

“It is believed the driver who killed and injured those youngsters may have been drunk. But I reckon the bad weather also contributed negatively as it was pouring,” he said.

Mbanjwa said the families had asked to have separate burials, but the Department of Transport and the Road Accident Fund would contribute towards the burials and the memorial service on Thursday.

“We as the municipality are also helping where we can and have already arranged a trauma counselling programme for all those affected,” he said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  accident

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