Johannesburg - In the week Joost van der Westhuizen admitted his health was so bad his daily routine now involved a walking aid, a wheelchair, drinking through straws and people ready to help him around, his wheelchair was damaged on a flight from Durban to Joburg.
Mango Airlines apologised profusely to the former Springbok for breaking the wheelchair and have promised to replace it.
This week Van der Westhuizen spewed abhorrence at the low-cost airline after his flight had been delayed for two hours and he arrived at his destination to find his wheelchair had been broken.
He tweeted: “@FlyMangoSA Had the worst Mango experience. Flight two hours late, stuck paraplegic pax (sic) all over. Broke my wheelchair!!!!!”
Shortly after his tweet, Mango replied: “@9Joost We are terribly sorry to hear you had a bad experience with us – please e-mail [email protected] with the details so we can assist.”
Mango spokesman Hein Kaiser confirmed the wheelchair was damaged, but that the airline had taken it in for repairs and given Van der Westhuizen a temporary replace-ment.
“We are very sorry this happened. We have spoken to our third party insurance company, who will replace the wheelchair.
“We have provided him with a loan chair in the meantime,” Kaiser said.
It has emerged that the former Bok captain’s quality of life has deteriorated considerably since his motor neurone disease (MND) progressed to the second phase, according to the latest YOU magazine.
Van der Westhuizen, 42, has lost 18kg as eating is more difficult.
“I’ve told them (my kids Kylie, 9, and Jordan, 7) that Dadda is probably going to be with Jesus,” he said.
“Jordan said, ‘Before you go I want to come and fetch my toys’.”
He was diagnosed with MND in May 2011 and only 20 percent of MND sufferers live for five years.