Faces of Crime

Family of petrol bombed truck driver still reeling as they wait for justice

31 July 2020 - 09:36 By Orrin Singh
Thavisile Pilime took care of her husband, Ronias Tavengwa, until the day he died from his injuries. Tavengwa, a truck driver, was petrol bombed in April 2019 - he died in December that same year.
Thavisile Pilime took care of her husband, Ronias Tavengwa, until the day he died from his injuries. Tavengwa, a truck driver, was petrol bombed in April 2019 - he died in December that same year.
Image: Emile Bosch

The wife of a Zimbabwean truck driver who was set alight in an arson attack in KwaZulu-Natal last year says justice has failed her family.

Almost a year ago Times Select reported on the story of 37-year-old Ronias Tavengwa, a Zimbabwean national who had petrol bombs thrown at his chest during protests against the hiring of foreign truck drivers in the country.

The ruthless arson attack on Tavengwa took place in April last year and saw him sustain third-degree burns to the upper half of his body while his employer's truck burnt to ashes during a petrol bombing incident in Isipingo, south of Durban.

Tavengwa is but one murder victim in the crime statistics released by police minister Bheki Cele on Friday.

In December the father of three succumbed to his injuries, leaving behind his wife and young children to fend for themselves.

His wife, Thavisile, said police contacted her in February for a statement regarding her husband's death.

“They said they would call me back but never did.”

She said she was frustrated, knowing that the men who committed such a vile and sadistic crime remained free.

“It pains me very much and thinking of it frustrates me. How can someone do anything like this and get away with it? All I wish is for justice to be served so that I can get closure because I'm not happy at all with the evil act that was done.” 

According to Thavisile, until the day he died, Ronias resented his employer for forgetting about him and his family, not offering him any sort of compensation after the attack.

She said after his death things had become extremely difficult.

“It's not easy for them [children], especially for the last born. He often asks me where his father is, because he was the closest to his father, but all of them are finding it hard because they no longer get the things they used to get from their father. Sometimes I hear them saying they wish their father was here because they miss the life of getting the things they had.”  

Thavisile said she was unemployed and found it difficult to get a job, now more so than ever.

“It's very hard because now I'm not going to work and we need a lot of things that money can buy, especially food stuff. Some people from church used to help, but hey, people get tired, and we are in a lockdown situation, so it hasn't been easy at all.” 

She said part of life was losing people, but not in the manner in which she lost the love of her life — a man who had once described his scars as being a reminder of what it means to be a “kwerekwere” living in SA.

© TimesLIVE

Thavisile Pilime took care of her husband, Ronias Tavengwa, until the day he died from his injuries. Tavengwa, a truck driver, was petrol bombed in April 2019 - he died in December that same year.
Thavisile Pilime took care of her husband, Ronias Tavengwa, until the day he died from his injuries. Tavengwa, a truck driver, was petrol bombed in April 2019 - he died in December that same year.
Image: Emile Bosch

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