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Families of Tshwane bus crash victims shattered at the loss of their bread winners

15 June 2022 - 20:59
Families of the 15 people who died in a head-on collision between a bus and truck gathered at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University on Wednesday.
Families of the 15 people who died in a head-on collision between a bus and truck gathered at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University on Wednesday.
Image: Shonisani Tshikalange

The family members of the 15 people who died when a bus and truck collided in Tshwane on the M17 last week said they were shattered by the loss of their breadwinners.

On Wednesday, the minister of transport, Fikile Mbalula, together with representatives from the Road Accident Fund (RAF) and the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), met the families of the victims at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University.

Some bereaved family members could not contain their emotions as they sobbed uncontrollably.

Fifteen people — 10 women and five men — died while 37 were injured in the crash near the Bundu Inn resort in Tshwane just after 5am on Friday morning.

A family representative, Mabuse Makwe, who lost a cousin in the crash said the tragedy had shattered the families.

“What is painful is all those people who were on their way to work have left us. It's better when you see someone being sick. Imagine you slept next to someone, someone bidding their farewell to you, their children goodbye in the morning, some accompanied their mother to the bus but after a few hours you hear a call coming in,” he said. 

Some of the family members cried out as the family representatives related how unexpected and sudden the loss was.

Makwe said he received a call about the accident at about 7am.

“I saw everything that happened on the scene. I spent the whole day there,” he said.

Peggy Bokaba, who lost her niece in the accident, described the massive loss the family had suffered. 

“I raised her. It is very painful because she was the breadwinner at home. Her sister had died and left her with her two children,” she said.

Bokaba said they were alerted about the accident by friends.

“Her (cousin) went and bought the airtime to call her. Her phone rang from 8am and at around 10am it was off and wasn't ringing any more.”

The cousin went to check the scene but they were not allowed to view the bodies and had to follow the emergency cars to the mortuary.

“They started by calling names at the mortuary. [My niece] was number two. They called her name and I raised my hand. That was the start of crying and the pain. They even wrote her body number — 589. We had to verify if it was her and we did,” said Bokaba.

Mpho Malatse, whose mother, Constance Malatse was a victim, said he found out about the accident through the media.

Malatse tried to call his mother but her phone was not answered.

“Afterwards, my sibling called me and we met at the scene where it was confirmed that it was her bus. We checked the hospitals first and she was not there then we had to wait for the pathologist to load the bodies. We followed them to Zone 5 (Garankuwa) and had to identify her,” he said. 

She will be laid to rest on Thursday.

“It was difficult, it was not easy. We went there but had hoped that we won't find her there (at the scene). We were only left with the mortuary. It was heartbreaking. The mind shuts down,” Malatse said.

His mother was working as a cleaner in Centurion and was supporting his youngest sibling financially.

“She used to support the last born and the family wasn't doing very well. Now that she is gone, she has left a big hole,” he said.

Jan Tlou who came from KwaNdebele in Mpumalanga to fetch the body of his brother said it was a great loss.

“My brother lived with our two sisters. He has been looking for work for a long time and found some opportunity. Everyone was depending on him.”

He said the process has been expensive for the family as they had to hire a car to come to Gauteng and also had to transport the body home.

He  would be buried on Sunday. 

Mbalula said the accident shocked the country.

“It's not easy for 15 people to just perish. They didn't get into this bus free of charge. They paid, saying they are going to work and were expecting to come back.”

Mbalula said they will ensure that social services are provided speedily to the bereaved families. 

“I would want that matter to be closed immediately at the point where we send off those who perished. What we offer to the families must be done within that particular period of time.”

He urged motorists to be vigilant and abide by the road rules.

“Those who are responsible to transport people must take responsibility. The lives of our people cannot be cheap,” he said.

Councillor for ward 30 in Garankuwa Violet Phalwane sympathised with the families and said as councillors they would visit the bereaved families and also attend the funerals.


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