Mother deliberately drove off a cliff with her kids

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Anton Gerber was driving with his grandchildren on the road to Voëlklip just outside Herolds Bay when a boy came running towards them. The boy’s mother had driven off the cliff at a lookout point with both of her children in the car. She and her daughter died. Picture: Deon Raath
Anton Gerber was driving with his grandchildren on the road to Voëlklip just outside Herolds Bay when a boy came running towards them. The boy’s mother had driven off the cliff at a lookout point with both of her children in the car. She and her daughter died. Picture: Deon Raath

NEWS


His mother did not want to live any more and drove into the sea with his two-year-old sister.

This was what an eight-year-old boy said in tears on Thursday, after stopping a passer-by near the R404 between Herolds Bay and the N2 highway to George in the Western Cape.

Anton Gerber (67) from Herolds Bay was on his way to a lookout point at Voëlklip with his grandchildren at about 12pm when he saw a boy on the roadside signalling him to stop.

“The child was shaking and crying terribly, and he was frightened when I found him,” said Gerber.

“He was drenched in sweat. It looked as if he’d been running, but it was also extremely hot. He desperately asked me to help him. It was clearly an emergency. His face was bleeding and was full of scratches and dust. He held his ribs all the time and said they hurt.

“He said his mother and his sister were in the sea, but I didn’t understand what he meant. I thought they might have been washed off the rocks by waves. I told him to get in my car and show me where they were.”

The boy led Gerber 2.2km further to the lookout point at Voëlklip, which towers 120m above the sea. Locals call it the hill of death.

This was where the boy’s mother, Edith Dlamini (34), had driven her car over the cliff with her daughter inside, the child explained. He had also been in the car, but had fallen out of it, which is how he sustained his injuries.

We’re in a bad time now and people are struggling. Unfortunately, such incidents will happen a lot more.
Kenneth Field, chairperson of the Herolds Bay Homeowners’ Association

His father, Mlungiseni Comfort Dlamini (34), an operations manager at Anheuser-Busch InBev’s hops farm near George, was at work when the incident took place.

Gerber could see the wreckage of a white Fiat and Edith’s body in the water.

He said the boy showed him where his mother had parked in the parking lot. The tyre tracks of the vehicle went straight from there to the lookout point over the cliff.

“The boy said his mother was driving very fast. It’s a mystery to me how he fell out of the car,” Gerber said.

ER24 said that the car had apparently rolled and the boy had escaped when it overturned.

Mlungiseni Dlamini said at his home in George on Friday that he was shocked by the death of his wife and daughter, and was not yet ready to talk to the media.

A neighbour of Dlamini’s said he had told her about the tragedy on Friday.

“He said his wife took the children for a drive and that she lost control of her vehicle.”

Edith’s car was parked in exactly the same spot where the Volkswagen Caravelle of Heidi Scheepers (35) had been parked before she drove over the cliff in October 2019 with her six-year-old daughter Cozette and two-year-old son Hugo.

The road is not, as people claim, ‘dangerous’.
Kenneth Field, chairperson of the Herolds Bay Homeowners’ Association

In December 2019, another woman drove over the cliff in a vehicle there, as did a man in January last year.

Three residents of George, Wernet Finger (20), MarNic Els (20) and Luandro Jansen (21), had also driven over the cliff from the same spot in a Toyota Hilux bakkie on November 15 2015.

Kenneth Field, chairperson of the Herolds Bay Homeowners’ Association, told journalist Julian Jansen that Voëlklip was getting a bad name due to these tragic incidents.

However, they had not happened at Voëlklip itself, but at the lookout point, which was 1km away from it, he said.

“Voëlklip has the most beautiful view, and local and foreign visitors come here daily. The road is not, as people claim, ‘dangerous’. If you drive properly, you’ll always be safe. “These incidents happen when people make decisions. We’re in a bad time now and people are struggling. Unfortunately, such incidents will happen a lot more. People need to take responsibility for their own actions,” said Field.

Chantal Edwards-Klose, spokesperson for the George Municipality, said the dirt road leading to the lookout point belonged to the public works department and the surrounding land belonged to a private owner.

During discussions with the municipality and other role-players, there was a feeling that the dirt road should not be closed.

Jandré Bakker, spokesperson for public works, said the road provided access for tourists and had recreational value.

The department would investigate Thursday’s incident, it said.


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