Many hopes cut down

2016-04-13 09:58
The family of Mbuso Mtolo, who died in Monday’s Sweetwaters Road crash, in mourning during a visit by government officials

The family of Mbuso Mtolo, who died in Monday’s Sweetwaters Road crash, in mourning during a visit by government officials (Thabang Mathebula, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - One of the victims of Monday’s horror taxi accident, which claimed the lives of seven Pietermaritzburg residents, was on her way to write her college exams when she died.

Mbali Lamola (36) was an office administration student at the Msunduzi TVET College, her sister Mandisa said on Tuesday.

Lamola, a mother of one, was also taking care of her nephews and nieces, and hoped to support them better after qualifying and getting a job.

Mandisa said Lamola was the pillar of their family. “She was a supportive, loving and caring person,” she said.

Yesterday, Transport Department officials were joined by Msunduzi Municipality officials and representatives of the Swartkop Taxi Association in visiting the seven bereaved families.

A joint funeral for the victims was proposed, with the expenses to be borne by the department and taxi association. It is understood that one family has planned to have a separate funeral on Sunday.

Other matters, such as Road Accident Fund claims, were discussed at a meeting at the city hall, from which The Witness was barred.

The seven were killed when the taxi they were travelling in from Sweetwaters to the CBD apparently experienced brake failure and crashed into a tree in the Prestbury area. Those killed were Lamola, Mbali Mvulani (21), Sbangelo Dlamini (29), Thandeka Ngubani (40), Mbuso Mtolo (32), Thabisile Ndlovu (34) and Bongiwe Lembethe (32).

Nine other people including the driver are recovering in hospital.

Sibusiso Ndokweni said he never thought he would lose his partner, Ndlovu, in such a horrific way.

“She was on way back to Durban when the accident happened. I called her when I heard about the crash and she did not answer. I started panicking and later learned that she was among the dead,” he said.

Mtolo was the taxi conductor. His sister, Zonke, said she would miss his smiles. “He was a very happy person and he made everyone feel happy when we were going through challenging situations.”

Msundusi Deputy Mayor Thobani Zuma said the municipality was disturbed by the accident.

“We are saddened by accidents that claim so many lives. It is something we don’t want to see happening in future.

“We are happy with the way our local taxi association responded after this horrific accident. They sat with us as we planned the visit to the families.

“The owner of the taxi also went all out to show support for the families. We set everything aside today and dedicated this day to the families who lost their loved ones,” he said.

• thabang.mathebula@witness.co.za

THE Road Accident Fund (RAF) is moving swiftly to help the families of 15 people killed in two accidents on successive days this week.

On Sunday, eight people died when a taxi collided with a tree at Ntunjambili on the P15 main road, between Kranskop and Nkandla.

On Monday, tragedy struck Pietermaritzburg when seven people died in an accident in Prestbury.

RAF director Dr Eugene Watson said in a press statement that the fund’s officials would meet with the bereaved families soon.

“Funeral support claims will be dealt with urgently for the deceased who meet the required criteria.

“RAF’s KZN team will continue consultations with the bereaved families after the funerals, to handle claims for loss of support for the surviving dependents, and damages for the injured as stipulated in the RAF Act.”

Watson said that road safety was a shared responsibility of all citizens.

“The public play an important role in ensuring this on-going scourge on our roads is decisively dealt with. We need to talk about road safety to our children, neighbours and communities as we are losing too many lives on our roads,” he said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  accident  |  taxi

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