Female train driver strangled at railway station
Transnet Freight Rail was warned of dangers
A GOODS train driver was strangled in a horror ambush at Makhado (formerly Louis Trichardt) train station at about 3am Monday.
Nare Mashamaite was with her assistant driver when the incident happened.
The two were about to leave the station in a train destined for Polokwane, Limpopo.
While in the driving seat of the stationary train, the women heard a strange noise and thought the train had a mechanical problem.
The two went out to inspect the source of the noise, with one on each side of the train.
A man suddenly emerged from the bushes and grabbed Mashamaite, 48, dragging her away. Hearing Mashamaite and the stranger grappling with each other, the assistant fled.
She called the police, who later found Mashamaite's body lying next to the train.
Police said they were investigating circumstances that might have led to the killing. They said she might have been raped before she was strangled.
Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said investigations were continuing and that no arrests had been made yet.
Meanwhile, the family of the deceased said they were shocked to hear of her death.
Duke Mashamaite, the deceased's brother, said he was shocked and angry.
According to employees of Transnet Freight Rail in Limpopo, who spoke on condition of anonymity, security concerns had been raised with management several times but were ignored.
They claimed the same assistant who fled after Mashamaite was attacked was raped in 2009 and that management did not do anything to protect its employees.
Mike Asefovitz, spokesman for Transnet Freight Rail, said it was a tragic incident and the safety of their employees had always been and would always be a top priority.
Asefovitz said Transnet's management had met with the family to convey their condolences and would be providing counselling for traumatised staff.
He said he was not aware of allegations that there were safety issues raised by employees in the past but offered to investigate.
- The police are requesting anyone with information to contact the investigating officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Monica Nemavhola, on 082-451-7154 or Crime Stop on 08600-10111.