Crash victims in distress

Namhla Tshisela

Namhla Tshisela

Two men who survived by the skin of their teeth after a plane crashed into their truck in Johannesburg have been left battered, bruised and penniless after their employer allegedly abandoned them.

Enoch Mtshali, 37, of Orange Farm, Vaal, and Jeffrey Mkwebu, 28, of Ennerdale, Johannesburg south, narrowly escaped death when an old warplane crashed into their delivery truck during an emergency landing on the Old Vereeniging Road in Grasmere last month.

They were returning door and window frames to their employer, Allan Govender, in Lenasia South, when the accident happened.

Govender, who was driving behind the truck in his car, was also hit.

Mtshali, the driver, had been employed for two days when the accident occurred.

Now the father of five-year-old twins has been fighting for his life at an Ekurhuleni hospital's intensive care unit for three weeks.

Mtshali's condition remains critical and his medical bill is nearing R700000. He is almost paralysed and cannot speak. He suffered fractures to both his legs and hip. He also sustained injuries to his head. His spleen has also been removed.

Mkwebu and Mtshali's live-in girlfriend, Emily Xaba, are demanding that Govender cover the men's medical costs.

Mkwebu said: "He paid me only R200 for the days that I worked before the accident. He has given me nothing for my injuries.

"When I asked him to sign the compensation forms from the department of labour he refused."

Mkwebu got away with minor injuries to his head, shoulders and neck.

"I have not been able to work since the accident because I cannot lift heavy objects," he said.

Govender denied refusing to pay for their treatment and pleaded poverty.

"The men's families are liaising with my lawyer who is trying to get their hospital bills paid. I was also injured in the crash and have not been able to work since I lost the truck. How can I help them when I am also financially invalid?" he said.