Pretoria - A relative of a victim of last Friday’s horrific crash in Ga-Rankuwa, which claimed 15 lives, said it was painful to lose so many lives in such a manner.
Mabuze Makwe lost his cousin Evon Bokaba, a father of three children aged 25, 22 and 12.
He said it was painful to lose people in such a sudden way as compared to seeing someone falling ill and witness their demise gradually and learning to accept that their chances of survival were dwindling.
“It is better when a person says goodbye to you and your family, indicating to you the direction to which their life was heading. Now imagine a child walked their mother to the bus stop, but after some time you hear a phone ringing to inform you to rush to a particular place. You take a car and you rush to the scene.
“With us, another cousin of mine rushed to hospital while I went to the scene. When I arrived at the scene, what I saw was heart-breaking. My spirit was broken and down the entire day.
“Now imagine it is your mother, father or child. We also had to go and identify and confirm their identity at the forensic department at the mortuary, and trust me, it was not easy for anybody.”
The families met Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula on Wednesday at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University.
They had gone there to identify the dead. At least 10 women and five men died in the accident, which left many injured.
Mbalula was accompanied by officials from the Road Accident Fund to the meeting, where arrangements were also made with funeral undertakers to assist with burials. He reiterated the commitment that the government would pay for everything.
The families said they appreciated the intervention of the government and all relevant authorities who promised to deliver to Mbalula a report on the accident by today.
However, some of the family who where there struggled to contain their emotions and burst into tears.
Joe Tlou said: “I would like to thank the minister and the officials for coming to support us in this difficult time. To you, my brothers and sisters who are also at a loss, I say peace be unto you.
“I say to you all that I second what Mbalula was saying; that let us be comforted and accept because what has happened is known best by God.
“My brother was here for work so he could provide for his children. He comes from KwaNdebele in Mpumalanga.
“As I am here speaking to you now there is a car hired to bring the family here so we could take him home, where he will be laid to rest this weekend.
“To hire a car to get here is not cheap, and neither does it cost a couple of hundred rand; it costs a lot of money. We barely have enough to eat, but we have decided as the Tlou family that we are laying him to rest this Sunday. We struggled to find him on Tuesday at the mortuary, but we are happy that today we have found him and we will take him home.”
Mbalula informed the families that he would make available the report informed by investigations, to explain to them and the public what transpired that morning.
He said he expected it to have recommendations and answers for the families.
“We do not know whether it was reckless driving. We do not know what happened. We have instituted an investigation as it is requested by law to determine the cause of the accident. On Friday, you will have the report and we will also make it public.
“Those who are responsible for taking our people to and from work and their companies must take responsibility. The lives of our people cannot be cheap. The gentleman who was speaking said it is better to die from illness than an accident.
“When it is illness, even when we lay you to rest, we say the deceased is now resting. But when you die because of an accident, it means it is a human error. Somebody was not awake. Somebody was negligent,” said Mbalula.