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Durban - Travelling medic, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, whose day job is the MEC for Health in KwaZulu-Natal, has made another roadside call – this time coming to the aid of a truck driver whose vehicle crashed after its brakes apparently failed.
Dixton Chabala, 36, from Zambia, was writhing in pain – his legs broken in the crash – when Dhlomo stopped to offer assistance on the N11 in northern KZN on Saturday.
Visiting Chabala in Newcastle Hospital on Wednesday, the MEC said he had noticed police vehicles and other motorists on the side of the road and stopped to ask what was going on.
He was returning from an ANC event in Nelspruit.
Dhlomo said when he was told the paramedics had not arrived, he halted his convoy and jumped to the crash scene with the first-aid kit that he always carried in his car.
“He (Chabala) was entrapped inside the head of the truck with broken windows, and the door couldn’t open,” he said. “I then put my upper body through the window. When I realised he was already bleeding, I cleaned up his legs and started putting a bandage on his leg.”
Paramedics arrived and put the injured man on a stretcher.
Chabala, who was on his way to Newcastle to deliver goods, said on Wednesday that when he realised the brakes were failing he began taking evasion action. But, in avoiding the other traffic he lost control of the truck and it rolled down an embankment.
“The truck lost brakes. The air pump was not working. When I dropped it to brake, nothing happened,” said Chabala.
He said he was knocked unconscious temporarily when the truck crashed and did not know the MEC had rescued him until on Wednesday, when he was told he would be visited by the man who had saved him.
“I don’t know what happened after the accident. I just saw a head and hands that were treating me,” he said. “I said, ‘no leave me here’. I couldn’t move.”
Chabala said he also injured his ribs, head and back.
“He (Dhlomo) is like my god because he saved me at that time when I was scared and the bone on my left leg was out,” he said.
Dhlomo said this was not the first time he had stopped his convoy to assist road accident victims.
Last year, he helped three teenage boys who were victims of a hit-and-run in Umzumbe on the South Coast. The teens were ignored by other motorists while lying on the side of the road waving for help.
The MEC said he used to feel guilty about not helping at accident scenes he had passed, so he now always stopped.
“I have done this many times and since 1992 I have carried my kit through my travels,” he said after his visit to Chabala. “It helps to see if what I did was the right thing and it boosts myself and you get fulfilled as a doctor to always assist.”