Strike victim's last gift to SA
As you read this, someone might just have received a new lease on life because a selfless man died at the hands of striking transport workers.
Yesterday morning, Gary Stewart - who died at 3.20pm on Monday - was wheeled into theatre at Vincent Pallotti Hospital in Cape Town where doctors harvested his organs to save the lives of others.
Last week, Stewart was travelling in a truck close to the Cape Town International Airport when the vehicle was stoned by strikers. He was hit on the head with a brick.
Henry Fisher - Stewart's brother-in-law and owner of the transport company he worked for - said the 41-year-old cared for his fellow man deeply and had mentioned organ donation in the past.
"When I proposed to his mother on Sunday that we donate his organs, she had no hesitation. He would have wanted it," said Fisher.
Joy Herman, spokesman for the hospital's intensive care unit, said that, despite being confirmed dead, Steward had remained on life support to preserve his organs. She said his organs were harvested just after 7am yesterday.
The family is taking strain. They are enraged at the South African Transport & Allied Workers' Union strike that led to Stewart's death, and at the inaction of the police.
"Police and the government had an obligation to protect us and preserve life. Once again they let us down. This is a crime that will go unpunished. Is it fair for a handful of people to hold the country hostage? Our government has murdered my brother-in-law, my friend," said Fisher, choking up.
Police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Andrè Traut said Stewart's death is being investigated, and the case docket has been changed from attempted murder to murder.
Yesterday, Satawu spokesman Vincent Masoga said they were "saddened" by Stewart's death.
"We hope the criminals feel the wrath of the law," said Masoga.
COPE's Youth Movement lauded Stewart's family for their decision, but said it was "a noble gesture on an undeserving nation".
"It is sad that the transport union, Cosatu and its affiliated unions and the ANC have embarked on a campaign to destroy this beautiful country through hooliganism, barbaric murders and any possible manner they could find," the youth movement said.