Durban - The owner of the car in which five people were killed when it crashed in KwaNdengezi, near Pinetown, early this week has pleaded for forgiveness from the families of the dead.

The owner of the car lost a son and daughter in the crash.

Khulekani Mkhize, 24, Sthabile Ndlovu, 25, Zanele Hlophe, 29, Buyisani Phewa, 27, and Hlengiwe Mbatha, 36, died when the Toyota Corolla they were in failed to negotiate a bend in Old Richmond Road and collided head-on with a bakkie.

Both cars were engulfed in flames.

Siphiwe Mkhize, speaking for the Mkhize family at the memorial service in the Pinetown Civic Centre on Thursday, pleaded for the “forgiveness” of the other victims’ families.

“We would like to humble ourselves before the bereaved families, and the community at large, for the grief we have inflicted upon you.

“What happened happened because your loved ones were in my brother’s car. Please find it in your hearts to forgive us because I doubt our child, Khulekani, would have intentionally taken his father’s car to kill his friends.” He said if he had the power to “turn back the hands of time”, the family would save the three friends and sacrifice Khulekani and Sthabile.

Portia Cathitoo, speaking on behalf of Hlengiwe Mbatha’s family, also took the podium to seek forgiveness because “our child was driving”.

Struggling to contain her emotions, she said: “She (Mbatha) was driving… I’d also like to apologise. She loved people – even when she died she was with her friends.

“What I can say to the Mkhize family is that you are forgiven – and I speak on behalf of the entire family. We are here today to celebrate their (the deceased’s) lives and to comfort each other.”

She said the families had accepted the terrible events because what happened was God’s plan.

The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport head, Sibusiso Gumbi, said road carnage had become too common in the province and something “drastic” needed to be done.

“We have to open our eyes and ask ourselves what can be done to stop this,” he said.

“We need to raise awareness. We need to be ambassadors of road safety.”

The Mercury