Zoleka Matoto, Chuma Rooi, Linda Rooi and little Indiphile lost their belongings in the Kroonstad train crash. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/ANA
Johannesburg - Survivors of the deadly train crash that killed 19 people last week on Monday relived the horror of the tragedy, with some still nursing visible injuries.

Zoleka Matoto, 17, who survived the rail crossing accident where a train and lorry collided, said she has been haunted by nightmares.

Matoto, who was travelling with her younger sibling, is originally from Cradock in the Eastern Cape.

She is expected to start school in Johannesburg next week but all their possessions were burnt in the crash.

Her older sister, Linda Rooi, said her two siblings had been wearing the same clothes since the day of the accident and had no funds to replace everything they lost.

Rooi, 31, relocated to Johannesburg to seek employment, but has been unsuccessful.

“Schools are opening next week and the kids have no clothes because everything they had was destroyed.

"We have just come from the December holidays and had bought them clothes and other essentials for the school year. Where are we supposed to get more money?” she asked emotionally.

Read: 15 still unaccounted for in Free State #TrainCrash

The unemployed woman said she was on Monday instructed by the Passenger Railway Agency South Africa (Prasa) to fill in forms to lodge a claim, and told she would be contacted to be compensated “in due course”.

“All I can do is wait. It is terrible because our lives are on hold,” she added.

It was previously reported that the truck driver miscalculated the train’s speed and tried to speed across the line as the train approached Kroonstad.

Nineteen bodies were retrieved from the wreckage - eight men, five women, and four girls. Two more were unidentifiable. About 164 passengers were taken to hospital, where two remain.

Calvin Baloyi
Calvin Baloyi was one of the people injured in the Free State train disaster. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/ANA

The Department of Transport and Prasa have set up a 24-hour walk-in and call centre to assist the affected people.

As the identification process only began yesterday, the centre will ensure that any members of the public who want to identify their loved ones are transported from Johannesburg to Kroonstad.

The centre will also ensure that families are assisted with compensation and burial.

Stakeholders are still assessing whether Prasa or the Road Accident Fund will be held liable, as the accident involved a train and a vehicle. The centre is being operated by the Department of Transport Road Traffic Management Services and the Rail Safety Regulator at Prasa Umjantshi House in Braamfontein Johannesburg next to Park Station.

Read more: Kroonstad #TrainCrash death toll confirmed at 19; DNA tests under way

Prasa spokesperson Dr Sipho Sithole said their biggest challenge was that most of the bodies were burnt beyond recognition, and he feared that some families might claim incorrect corpses.

“Another issue will be the long-term future of the families of the deceased as well as the impact it will have on the duration of their lives. Who will then look after them and what will happen next?”

Family members yesterday visited the centre in Braamfontein to voice problems arising from the death of their relatives and make claims for lost goods.

Nozipho Hoza, 28, who was travelling with her 5-year-old son, said she had felt the train moving in an unusual manner, but it never dawned on her that it was actually burning.

“The train suddenly jerked and I heard people screaming. I then rushed to the opposite seat to take my child.

"At that moment, I just wanted to save him and thought to myself it would probably be better if I died, not my son. I tried by all means to pull him towards me,” she said.

Hoza recalls falling against the window and says she does not even know how she got out of the motionless train.

Calvin Baloyi, 30, had bandages on a dislocated arm when he visited the centre in Braamfontein yesterday.

He said he was still in shock and that his mind was “numb”.

“I don’t know what’s wrong with me I can’t concentrate any more like I used to. I have lost my mind - I have no focus whatsoever,” he said.

Originally from Soweto, Baloyi was returning from visiting his brother in Port Elizabeth. He said he sought medical assistance following his injuries.

The Star