Accident kills 11 – MEC promises compensation to affected families

On Monday Mpumalanga community safety, security and liaison MEC, Pat Ngomane addressed the families of the 11 people that were killed when a taxi crashed into three cows on the R538 on Friday evening.

Speaking at the Lakai-Roy Zion Apostolic Church in Shabalala Emphundzane Village near Hazyview, Ngomane said the provincial government will compensate each family with R15 000 and assist in the burial of the deceased.

“A joint memorial service for the deceased will be organised, but we will take the lead from the families,” he said at the meeting.

“The Department of Social Development will help all the affected families to cope with the matter, and has agreed to visit the relatives of the five people who were injured in the crash,” said Ngomane.

Joseph Mabuza, spokesman for community safety, security and liaison, said the horrific accident occurred when the taxi carrying members of the Lakai-Roy Apostolic Church, which was making its way to its head office in Mozambique, collided with three cows around 22:30 on Friday.

According to Mabuza, nine of the occupants were burnt beyond recognition with four children among those killed.

Due to the severity of the burns sustained by the deceased, post-mortem examinations and DNA tests are being performed to identify the remains. According to provincial chief director of transport regulation, Sibandiso Nkuna, who has been tasked by Ngomane to liaise with the families of the deceased, the results of the examinations and tests should be available by the end of the week.

At the meeting with the families, Ngomane gave his assurance that the owner of the livestock will be prosecuted and charged with culpable homicide.

“We have not yet identified the owner of the cattle, but it should be easy as they were tagged. We will make sure that the owner is punished accordingly,” he said at the meeting.

Following a meeting between the MEC, SAPS, community members and local farmers, the municipality, law enforcement, road-safety practitioners, forensic personnel, social-services officials, pastors and councillors at the Mthimba FET on Monday, Ngomane said a plan will be developed to manage the issue of stray livestock on the R538 to try to prevent such accidents in future.

“There are members of certain communities who assume that the accident happened on purpose. Government will help them to understand the unforeseen events,” he said.

According to Mabuza, the plan of action will be made public as soon as the matter has been finalised by all the parties involved.

Hippo collisions leave three injured

Hancu Louw

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