Consul had no Xmas spirit for his citizens

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

About 15 Mozambicans, including a 6-year-old girl, spent their Christmas without any food along the N4 highway after their minibus collided with side barriers on the road .

But Artur Verissimo, the Mozambican consul dealing with Mpumalanga and Limpopo, showed little compassion for them.

He refused to assist the people despite being told they had been stranded on the side of the road for almost a day.

"We always advise our people to travel in buses when they leave for home during the holidays but these people chose an unsafe minibus," he said.

"And we do not have trucks to help them - especially since many others will will also become stranded along the N4."

The driver, transporting passengers from Katlehong, Ekurhuleni, lost control of the minibus near Nelspruit on Christmas Day at about 4am.

Though the minibus was not extensively damaged it had to be towed away.

No one was injured but people had to remain on the side of the road with all their luggage.

"We haven't had anything to eat since the accident happened," said Dario Sithole, a passenger.

"Our main concern is that we have children among us and they have started crying because of hunger.

"This is exactly where we have to spend our Christmas while others are enjoying it with their families."

Sowetan bought several loaves of bread and cold drinks for the people since they were becoming quite desperate.

Another taxi driver offered to take them to the Lebombo border post, from where they could proceed to Mozambique - but he wanted R3000 on the spot.

It was already 7pm before a more sympathetic minibus driver, who charged the group R2000, took them to the border post.