mothers of the 3 children that were killed by tractor.

Durban -

A family is in mourning after four children, all cousins, were hit by a grader on a gravel road while walking home from school in Ndwedwe, outside Verulam, on Tuesday.

Hlengiwe Magwaza, 11, had fetched her cousins Busisani Magwaza, 2, Langelihle Magwaza and Zanele Magwaza, both 4, from crèche.

Zanele, Langelihle and Hlengiwe were killed instantly while Busisani died in Osindisweni Hospital.

The driver of the vehicle absconded.

Khanyisile Magwaza, 36, the children’s aunt, said each one of her four younger sisters had lost a child.

Fetching the three children from the nearby Silindokuhle crèche was Hlengiwe’s daily routine. She was a Grade 6 pupil at Oakford Primary school.

Magwaza said the family were called by a bystander at about 3.30pm.

Witnesses said they had found beer bottles in the grader, but this could not be confirmed by police.

It is believed the driver fled through bush and crossed a river.

“We are told he was speeding… I don’t understand how he could have missed (seeing) the children. It’s quite clear they were walking on the side of the road,” said Khanyisile.

She said the children were always together.

“Every afternoon when they came home they knocked on my door when I came back from work.”

The principal of the crèche, Badumile Mzobe, said the scene of the accident would be burned into her mind forever.

Police spokesman Jay Naicker said police were investigating four cases of culpable homicide and reckless driving.

Provincial education spokesman Muzi Mahlabi expressed condolences to the Magwaza family on behalf of the department.

The Mercury