DURBAN - THE family of an on-duty uMhlathuze Municipality traffic officer who died after he was knocked down by an alleged drunk driver over the weekend have described his death as a “hard pill to swallow”.
According to the city, Nduduzo Ncanana was conducting an operation on the N2 highway in Empangeni on Saturday when he was knocked down by a vehicle that failed to stop.
Mdu Ncalane, City of uMhlathuze communications manager, said the 33-year-old was with a colleague when a silver Audi SUV was spotted by the officers.
Ncalane said Ncanana’s colleague ran across the road to stop the speeding vehicle, while Ncanana remained next to the speed machine. The machine was set up on the shoulder of the road.
“As the vehicle drew closer, it came close behind a bakkie moving in the same direction in front of it (northbound). The Audi veered suddenly to the left behind the bakkie. It clipped the left side of the bakkie and came off the roadway and hit Ncanana, who was waiting next to the speed device,” he said, adding that Ncanana was declared dead a few minutes thereafter.
He said the driver of the Audi was checked by an officer and was allegedly found to be under the influence of alcohol.
Ncanana’s father, Vusumuzi Ncanana, said the family, especially Ncanana’s mother and wife, was devastated about the incident.
Speaking to The Mercury yesterday, an emotional Vusumuzi said he was battling to find words to describe the pain he was feeling.
“I feel like it’s best to say I’m dead, emotionally. There are no words to describe the pain I’ve been feeling since I got the news. My wife and I haven’t been sleeping at night and that worries me because we are old. I still hope that someone will wake me up from this nightmare,” said Vusumuzi.
The 61-year-old said that his son left behind his wife and three children, aged 13, seven, and one.
He described his son as the most loving, caring and open person, who was passionate about his job and loved his family.
“He was everything to us. Yes, we gave birth to him, but he was like a parent to us and to his relatives. He made sure that we were all well taken care of and, indeed, the sun has just set for us.
“We have been welcoming his friends, colleagues and neighbours since Sunday, and that goes to show that he was a people’s person,” he said.
KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala confirmed the incident and said charges of culpable homicide and drunken driving were being investigated by Empangeni SAPS.
Gwala said a 38-year-old suspect was placed under arrest and appeared in the Empangeni Magistrate’s Court yesterday.
National Prosecuting Authority regional spokesperson Natasha Kara said the matter was postponed to July 30 for further investigations.
Vusumuzi said that they were happy that the suspect was arrested.
He said Ncanana would be buried on Saturday.