Mpumalanga nine died on first day of new jobs

Relatives of the eight young people who died in an accident are waiting for forensic identification of their family members at the state mortuary at Middelburg Hospital yesterday.
Relatives of the eight young people who died in an accident are waiting for forensic identification of their family members at the state mortuary at Middelburg Hospital yesterday.
Image: MANDLA KHOZA

Emotions ran high at the Middelburg government mortuary where the families of eight of the nine people who died in a road crash arrived to have DNA samples taken for the identification process of the burnt bodies.

The crash victims died on Friday on the N11, the day they all started work at a coal mine in the Mpumalanga town.

MEC for community safety, security and liaison Gabisile Shabalala said the process would take two weeks to finalise as it needed blood samples from relatives for conclusive DNA results.

"We have spoken to the forensic investigators to try to speed up the process of identification of the deceased. This process will take about two weeks to finish, therefore we will know when the deceased will be laid to rest."

The eight victims have been identified as Majahonke Madonsela, 33, Mduduzi Mundalamo, 30, Bafana Shabangu, 34, Handsome Rasimphi, 27, Fano Chiya, 35, Mthunzi Nkosi, 35, Abel Pitso, 38, and Jones Tshukudu, 37. The ninth person's identity has not been verified.

Madonsela's mother Martha Nzinisa told Sowetan on the day of the crash, she waited for him to come home so they could celebrate the news that he had found a new job.

The scene of the crash between a taxi and an articulated truck.
The scene of the crash between a taxi and an articulated truck.
Image: Mpumalanga community safety department

"My son had not been getting proper jobs but piece jobs. When he told us that on Friday morning he's going for an induction to start a new job on Monday, we were very happy. He even told his girlfriend that they were going to celebrate in the evening.

"I waited for him to come home and didn't know that he was dead until on Saturday morning," Nzinisa said.

"My heart is very sore. I thought our lives would get better after he got the job."

MEC for public works, roads and transport Gillion Mashego said human error and driver's impatience were to blame for the crash. Several people were also injured.

"They [deceased] had just started new jobs. The were going to change their families' lives and be able to put something on the table. So, it's a very painful situation looking at the joblessness in the country, mostly among the youth.

"This accident was caused by human error. You see, South Africans are impatient. In this accident, a driver of a bakkie overtook [a truck] and distracted the driver of the taxi [which hit the truck]. The bakkie itself went into a ditch."

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