It was just socks and bones: Family of slain bus driver recounts horror of brutal murder scene
Neo Motaung, 58, was killed when an armed gang shot at the bus he was driving and set it alight in Lawley on Tuesday. He leaves behind two daughters
The family of Neo Motaung, 58, the bus driver who was shot and burnt on Tuesday, is still trying to get its head around what they described as his senseless killing.
Motaung was killed on Tuesday morning after an armed gang opened fire and set the bus alight in Lawley, south of Lenasia, Gauteng. Passengers in the bus escaped with injuries, with some of them jumping through the windows.
His niece, Tina Motaung, told TimesLIVE that they immediately drove from Deneysville in Sasolburg, Free State, after receiving the news about the shooting. The drive is just over 120km, but felt like 1,000km, Tina said.
“We had so many pictures and questions in our heads while we were driving there. Will we find him lying on the side of the road, or would his body be already moved to the mortuary?” she said.
Tina said their hope with driving to the scene was to clean up his blood and possibly fetch some of the belongings that he had in his possession — but it was not to be.
“We arrived at a horrific scene, where he was burnt beyond recognition. We couldn’t see his body or anything that he could have had with him,” she said, weeping.
There were socks and bones of what we believe to be his feet. Other than that, we couldn’t see anything that we could confirm it was himTina Motaung
“There were socks and bones of what we believe to be his feet. Other than that, we couldn’t see anything that could confirm it was him,” she said.
Tina said the family was taking it hard to accept his passing and said the scene where he last took his breath was just too heartbreaking.
“We still can’t believe that people could do such a horrible act to another human being,” she said. “As a family, not only were we robbed of his life but we have been robbed of an opportunity to see his body and give us closure. It’s just too hard to believe this happened to him, it all feels like a dream. Without a body, we can’t have closure,” she said.
Tina described her uncle as the glue of the family.
“He loved all his family and relatives and insisted on us always sticking together,” she said. “He always put the needs of everyone before his. He was a very caring person.”
One of Motaung's goals for this year was to complete building a house for his parents.
She said the was particularly heartbroken for Motaung's parents, “who will have to bury just a few bones of their son”.
“They are so shattered. We are all broken,” she said.
Supervisor for operations at Stabus, the company Motaung worked for, described Motaung as a very humble, respectful and kind person who was loved by everyone.
Emily Motaung — the supervisor, who is not related to the deceased — said: “Ever since I started working with him here in 2017 when I joined the company, I never received a single complaint about him. It was just compliments.
“It’s indeed true when they say good people are those who die, but it’s really painful to see such a good person be killed in such a senseless manner.”
Emily said they believed the killing and attack on the bus was by local taxi operators, as they were not happy with commuters no longer using taxis.
“This whole thing started after level 4 lockdown, when the taxi operators started harassing our drivers,” she said.
According to Emily, this was reported to police but they had not done anything about it.
“It's sad it had to get to this, that life had to be lost like this before action is taken,” she said.
Tina said Motaung would be buried next week on Saturday in his hometown of Deneysville.
Motaung is survived by his parents, two daughters, three granddaughters, his sister and brother.