Hunt on for grader’s killer driver

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Copy of Copy of NM Verulam 3 grader

THE MERCURY

Clothing items of the four children who were killed by a tractor are placed next to candles.

Durban - The company that owns the grader that crushed four young cousins to death on a dirt road north of Durban said yesterday it had launched a “manhunt” for the driver, who fled after the horror accident.

Aqua Transport and Plant Hire had been unable to locate him and his cellphones were off, said spokeswoman Sagree Gounden.

Police spokesman, Captain Thulani Zwane, said the man was still on the run.

He said the company the man worked for was co-operating fully with police.

“They have provided us with all his details. But this will only be made public once he has been arrested,” Zwane said.

Three of the Magwaza cousins – Hlengiwe, 11, Zanele, 4, and Busisani, 2 – died at the scene, while 4-year-old Langelihle died later at Osindisweni hospital.

They were run over while on their way home from a crèche at KwaBhanoyi, in Ndwedwe, near Verulam.

Their mothers are devastated by the tragedy.

Aqua Transport and Plant Hire, which had been contracted to do roadwork in the area, was asked by the Daily News to provide information on the driver, but by the time of publication it had not done so.

“We are aware of the accident and we have our manhunt on the ground to locate the driver.

“His phones are off,” said Gounden.

The driver’s landlord, who did not want to be named, said he had not seen him since the accident.

He said the driver had been renting a room at his home in Ndwedwe, but he did not know where he was from. The company had also rented space from him to keep the graders and trucks, he said.

“All his belongings are still here at home and we have changed the lock of his room.”

Transport MEC Willies Mchunu yesterday extended his condolences to the Magwaza family.

“I have ordered my team to conduct a full investigation into this accident. We need to get to the bottom of this accident and find out what exactly happened,” said Mchunu.

“I am equally disturbed by the reports that the driver fled the scene. This does not help the situation and we urge him to hand himself to the police. I also wish to reiterate that road safety is our collective responsibility; let’s play our individual parts.”

Gounden said the company was willing to compensate the family for their loss.

“We actually have our community liaison speaking with the family and the Department of Transport and Road Accident Fund are our representatives,” she said.

Daily News


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