FOUR Die AS CASH VAN RAMS INTO taxi rank
PORTIA Moloi yesterday lay in a GaRankuwa Hospital bed listening to prayers from her church friends who had come to comfort her.
She believes she is in hospital because of tonsillitis.
But Moloi of Soshanguve, north of Pretoria, is the victim of an armed cash van that allegedly skipped red traffic lights at high speed before ramming into seven stationary vehicles, leaving four people dead in its wake.
The incident happened at about 7pm on Christmas Eve at the township's busy Block H Transfer intersection.
Moloi is also scarcely conscious of the fact that among the dead is her three-year-old daughter, with whom she was going to board a taxi. And her sister, Jane Mosue, is still not sure when or how to tell her.
The accident also saw four other people, among them a taxi owner, a queue marshal and passengers, with the grim prospect of having their legs or arms amputated.
When Sowetan arrived at the scene, less than two minutes after it had happened, three of the security officers travelling in the cash van were walking around the scene with cocked guns, seemingly oblivious of the victims lying in a pool of blood.
Hysterical screams could be heard from several passengers and drivers who were trapped inside the minibus taxis. The security officers and some police officers watched on as members of the public tried to free the trapped passengers .
Witnesses told Sowetan that the van, which was travelling from the direction of Mabopane towards the capital city, failed to stop at a red robot and bumped into a white VW Polo before veering out of control, smashing into five stationary minibus taxis and another private car.
Speaking from his hospital bed, Patrick Lukeri, who was due to undergo surgery to determine the fate of his two broken legs, said : "I heard a loud bang and saw this cash van coming our way. I tried to run but it was too late."
Oupa Msizi, who was working at the makeshift taxi rank as a queue marshal, and Thabo Phofu, who had come to board a city-bound taxi with his pregnant wife, said they could only remember waking up in hospital.
It has also emerged that the police failed to conduct alcohol tests on the security officers despite several appeals from the angry mob, who also called for the cash van to be petrol-bombed.
Captain Solly Marindi said the driver, who was charged with culpable homicide and reckless and negligent driving, has since been released and will appear in court soon .