Tears flow at memorial service of crash victims

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

Thousands of mourners gathered at Vezukusa Primary School in Jozini, northern Zululand, yesterday for the memorial service of the eight people who died in a gruesome road crash last week.

The victims died when the bakkie they were travelling in at Mkhuze collided with a truck on the N2.

It is alleged that the accident occurred when the bakkie driver tried to overtake a truck and collided head-on with an oncoming truck.

Tears flowed as family and friends mourned the dead.

The deceased were Lindiwe Ncube, 30, and her unborn baby, Cebo Ncube, 17, Bongekile Mncwango, 23, Simphiwe Magagula, 21, Sindisiwe Mtshali, 48, Sebenzile Nhlenyama, 48, and the driver Thulani Buthelezi, 30.

Bheki Cele, MEC for transport, community safety and liaison, fought hard to hold back tears as he read the names of the deceased.

Cele said it was very sad that so many people perished because of human error.

"It's sad that women and men die in pain, leaving orphans.

"If drivers adhere to the rules of the road, we would not see innocent people killed like this.

"Accidents like these could be prevented," said Cele.

He said despite their commitment to keep people safe on roads, huge challenges continue.

"Unlike the scourge of HIV-Aids, I believe that we have the remedy, but not the cure and the vaccine for this kind of carnage on our roads.

"The question facing all of us is whether or not we wish to prevent this carnage from ravaging us further.

"It's unfortunate that people who fail to adhere to the rules of the road kill economically-active people," he said.

Cele urged all motorists to follow the festive season slogan - "Just Do Right" - to prevent further carnage.

"The theme is based on our belief that most accidents are caused by human error, and can be prevented," he said.

"I am worried that our laws seem to be too soft. I am worried about people who drink alcohol and get into their cars and kill innocent people, but are charged for culpable homicide.

"In Australia if you drink and drive, they call you a bloody idiot."