KZN family mourns after 13 die in taxi crash

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The wreck of taxi in which 13 members of the Mdali family died on Saturday.
The wreck of taxi in which 13 members of the Mdali family died on Saturday.

The Mndali family are in mourning after the death of 13 family members who died on Saturday when their driver lost control of a taxi on a bend in the road towards Underberg.

Twelve people, including a two-year-old boy died on the scene, one died in hospital and two others are in a critical condition in hospital.

The dead named
Those who died are Zatholani Mndali, Mlekeleli Mndali (the driver), Thabisile Dlamini, Lindekile Dlamini, Njabulo Mndali, Sandile Mndali, Enzokuhle Mndali (2), Mathobhiza Mndali, Balungile Dlamini, Nompumelelo Nzimande and Nhlakanipho Nzimande.

Zuziwe Mndali told The Witness on Sunday that those who had died had earlier attended a cleansing ceremony for their aunt, who recently lost her husband.

“They all came back after the ceremony and sat at home. Mlekeleli then said that he was going to fill up fuel at the garage in Kilmun, and they [deceased] all said that they wanted to accompany him to the garage,” said Mndali.

She said shortly after the taxi left they received a phone call from her other aunt telling her about a taxi accident that had just happened. “When she said a taxi, I knew that it was them, but did not think that it was this bad.

“We do not know what made all of them go, because Mlekeleli was going fill up fuel and come back. I guess it was the calling.”

“Seeing so many people from the same family, especially women, die leaving young children behind, is so heartbreaking.”

Mndali said they are heartbroken and devastated because all the elderly people that they depended on are now gone.

Mbongeleni Mndali, who lost his wife and a brother, said they would appreciate any kind of help at this time.

Ward councillor Mlungisi Zikode said this is not the first time that such an accident had happened in this family.

He said last year there was an accident in Underberg that claimed the lives of four members of the Mndali family.

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“This year other people have died, it is very painful. Seeing so many people from the same family, especially women, die leaving young children behind, is so heartbreaking.”

Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala visited the family yesterday to express their condolences.

They were accompanied by MEC for Transport Community Safety and Liaison Bheki Ntuli and staff from Social Development.

Dlamini Zuma said “It is a real tragedy for the Mndali family but as a government we are here to give them support. We will support them until the funeral and after the funeral because this is really a difficult situation, this family will need counselling,” she said.

Zikalala said: “The healing of this family will only happen if they get support from all sectors. We will try and support and support the family until they get back into their normal life.”

MEC for Transport Community Safety and Liaison Bhe
MEC for Transport Community Safety and Liaison Bheki Ntuli

On Saturday Ntuli called on all road users to exercise extreme caution on the roads and obey traffic rules.

He described the accident as gut-wrenching and very painful.

Ntuli added that while investigations into the cause of the crash are still underway, evidence shows that the majority of accidents on the road are a result of human behaviour.

He said society as a whole had to play their part in curbing the high accident rate. “One death is one too many. Far too many lives are lost, and families are adversely affected because of, among others, reckless driving.

“I urge motorists to be extra cautious on the road and obey the rules of the road. As part of the 2020 October Transport Month programme, we will be intensifying law enforcement operations and promoting behavioural change on the road through road safety awareness campaigns to educate road users on basic principles of being safe on the road,” added MEC Ntuli.

15 hurt on Edendale Road

In a separate incident on Saturday night, 15 people were injured when a light motor vehicle and taxi collided on the M70 Edendale Road in Pietermaritzburg.

ER24 paramedics found a man trapped inside the overturned taxi while at least 15 others were wandering the scene.

Pietermaritzburg Fire Services used various tools to free the man from the taxi.

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