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Johannesburg - Six Soweto children were injured – three critically – when the bakkie they were travelling in overturned and crashed into the wall of a house in Zola on Sunday.
The children, one of them the seven-year-old son of the 42-year-old driver, are aged between five and 10.
They were sitting in the back of the bakkie without a canopy when the driver allegedly tried to overtake another vehicle on the narrow Malunga Street.
“I was standing by the gate just after 11am, looking for the men who usually walk around selling vegetables, when I saw the driver of the bakkie speeding, trying to overtake a Mercedes,” said 52-year-old Paulina Mdlalose, whose wall the bakkie driver crashed into, leaving a gaping hole.
Black tyre skid marks were visible where the bakkie had veered off the road and into boulders outside Mdlalose’s house.
Once the dust had settled, Mdlalose tried to help the crying children, some of whom had fallen into her yard.
“When I tried to pick up one little girl, she cried in pain, ‘Ngiyeke ma tu (please leave me/don’t touch me mother)’,” said a visibly traumatised Mdlalose.
Luckily her own nine-year-old son was in his room at the time, and her husband was out.
Emergency workers rushed the children to Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital.
The driver’s family, who were hesitant to speak to The Star, later removed the bakkie from the wall and moved it into the street.
Mdlalose’s neighbour, Mpumi Swartbooi, said the community had been appealing in vain to their previous and current ward councillors for speed humps on the street.
The local ward councillor, Michael Mtimkulu, visited the area late on Sunday afternoon and promised that he would request a meeting with the Johannesburg Roads Agency and the MEC for roads and transport to discuss the community’s plight and what could be done in terms of installing speed humps.
“We are trying our level best as councillors to meet the needs of the people, but we have to wait for a budget allocation from the council,” he added.
Soweto police spokesman Kay Makhubela said a case of reckless and negligent driving would be opened against the driver, who is being treated for his injuries in hospital.