Vukani Makhanya
Durban - A 13-year-old boy who was an ardent rugby player and sports fanatic died on Thursday when he was knocked over by a car while he attempted to cross the busy R102 near the Cornubia Housing settlement.

The death of Vukani “Mfana” Makhanya was witnessed by his sister Mbali Makhanya, 15, and his close friend Lucky Mthembu, 12.

They all walked together daily to Foresthaven Secondary School in Phoenix. The images of the incident will haunt them forever.

Pearl Makhanya, Vukani’s mother, who was at work when the tragedy occurred, said the children were standing on the roadside behind the yellow line waiting for a break in the traffic to cross over the two lanes of the R102 Durban-bound so they could reach the median grass patch.

Makhanya said her son darted across the road and was hit by a car. Makhanya’s employer rushed her to the scene when she was contacted by family about the crash.

Lucky and Mbali were shocked by what they had witnessed.

“He played as a defender for Cornubia United soccer team and loved watching rugby on television. He also wanted to be a rugby player.

“I would like to believe that they took a short cut this morning because they were late.Everyone knows that road is dangerous,” Makhanya said.

Children living in the new Cornubia Housing settlement attend the nearby high schools in Phoenix and one of the routes to school involves crossing the R102 in both directions.

They then walk through a bushy footpath and scrap yards to reach Chris Hani (Old North Coast) Road. Here they have to stand alongside overgrown grass verges and cross over two lanes to reach Woodview Drive and the Phoenix suburb.

An alternative route involves children walking along Chris Hani Road which crosses over the R102 and then use the footpaths alongside to join Woodview Drive. The width of this road does not cater for pedestrians.

Kevin Sevlall, principal of Soloman Mahlangu Primary School in Cornubia, was heartbroken when he learnt about Vukani’s death .

“I know the children here personally. I tried to drive down to the scene, but traffic was backed up. Vukani attended our primary school from Grade 4 to Grade 7. One of his attributes was being enthusiastic about sport. He attended basic swimming classes at Atholton Primary School and the Umhlanga Lifesaving Club. He had a promising outlook in any of the sporting fields,” Sevall said.

Captain Nqobile Gwala, police spokesperson, said a case of culpable homicide was opened at Verulam police station.

Daily News