Driver in court today over deadly accident
THREE months ago Mxolisi Thabethe and his family celebrated when he got a job as a farmworker. He had given them hope.
Thabethe, 23, is among the 26 people who died when a goods train hit a truck at a level crossing in Hectorspruit near Malelane, Mpumalanga, on Friday morning.
"I am still shocked. I cannot believe that he is gone," Thabethe's mother Lindiwe Shongwe said.
"We looked up to him. He was the only person who had a job in the house. I do not know what I am going to do," she said.
Shongwe said she was told by her son's co-workers about the accident.
"My other children are still at school. His father is also struggling to get a job," Shongwe said.
The driver of the truck is believed to have failed to stop at a level crossing on the N4. There were about 44 passengers in the truck.
The 32-year-old man has been arrested and will appear in the Tonga Magistrate's Court today (Monday) on charges of murder, reckless and negligent driving.
Mpumalanga department of community safety, security and liaison spokesman Moeti Mmusi said police were also investigating allegations that the truck driver was unlicensed.
The department's MEC, Vusi Shongwe, said both the train and truck would be inspected to see if they were fit to carry goods and people.
After the collision the train, which was carrying coal from Witbank to Maputo, dragged the truck for about 200 metres, leaving bodies with missing limbs scattered over the area.
Obet Mathebula, whose nephew Lucky Shambo also died in the accident, said the family was still trying to come to terms with their loss.
"My nephew started working on the farm this month. His mother is so shattered she cannot even speak," Mathebula said.
President Jacob Zuma, Public Enterprise Minister Malusi Gigaba, the DA and Cosatu said they were shocked by the accident.
Said Zuma: "... we reiterate that it is important for drivers to exercise maximum caution at all times, especially when transporting passengers..." - firstname.lastname@example.org