The family members of 15 people who died in a bus and lorry collision on the M17 in Tshwane last week said they were devastated at the loss of their breadwinners.On Wednesday, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, along with representatives from the Road Accident Fund (RAF) and the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), met victims’ families at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University. span
Some bereaved family members could not contain their emotions as they sobbed uncontrollably.
Fifteen people – 10 women and five men – died during 37 were injured in the crash near the Bundu Inn resort in Tshwane just after 5am on Friday morning.
A family representative, Mabuse Makwe, who lost a cousin in the crash said the tragedy had shaken families.
“Schme What is interesting is that all the people who were on their way to work have left us. It’s better when you see that someone is sick. Imagine you are sleeping next to someone, someone says goodbye to you, their children say goodbye in the morning, some accompany their mother to the bus, but after a few hours you hear a phone call,” he said.
Some of the family members cried out as family representatives related how unexpected and sudden the loss was.
Makwe said he received a call about the death Accident around 7am.
“I saw everything that happened on site. I spent all day there,” he said.
Peggy Bokaba, who lost her niece in the accident, described the massive loss the family suffered. span>< /p>
“I raised her. It is very painful because she was the breadwinner at home. Her sister had died, leaving her with her two children,” she said.
Bokaba said they were informed of the accident by friends.
< p>“Her (cousin) bought the airtime to call her. Her phone rang from 8am and by 10am it had gone and stopped ringing.”
The cousin went to check the crime scene but they weren’t allowed the bodies and had to follow the ambulance to the morgue.
< p>“They started calling names in the morgue. [My niece] was number two. They called her name and I raised my hand. That was the beginning of the crying and the pain. They even wrote her body number – 589. We had to verify it was her and we did,” said Bokaba.
Mpho Malatse, whose mother Constance Malatse is a victim said he learned about the accident from the media.
Malatse tried to call his mother but her phone was not answered.
“After that, my sister called me and we met at the scene of the crime, which confirmed that it was her bus. We checked the hospitals first and she wasn’t there, then we had to wait for the pathologist to load the bodies. We followed them to Zone 5 (Garankuwa) and had to identify them,” he said.
She will be buried on Thursday.
< span>“It was difficult, it wasn’t easy. We went there but hoped we wouldn’t find her there (at the crime scene). We were left with the morgue. It was heartbreaking. The mind switches off,” said Malatse.
His mother worked as a cleaner in Centurion and supported his youngest sibling financially.
“She used to support the lastborn and the family wasn’t doing very well. Now that she’s gone, she left a big hole,” he said.
Jan Tlou, who came from KwaNdebele in Mpumalanga to retrieve his brother’s body, said it was a great loss.
“My brother lived with our two sisters. He has been looking for work for a long time and found a chance. Everyone depended on him.”
He said the process was expensive for the family as they had to rent a car to get to Gauteng and also the body had to be transported home.
He would be buried on Sunday.
Mbalula said the accident shook the country.
“It’s not easy for 15 people to just die. You didn’t get on that bus for nothing. They paid and said they were going to work and expected to come back.”
Mbalula said they will ensure social services are provided quickly to the bereaved. span>
“I would like to close it immediately at the point where we send away the deceased. What we offer to families must be done within that specific timeframe.”
He urged drivers to be vigilant and obey the Highway Code.< /p>
“Those responsible for moving people must take responsibility. Life for our people cannot be cheap,” he said.
Councillor for Ward 30 in Garankuwa Violet Phalwane sympathized with the families and said as councillors. They visited the bereaved and also attended the funerals.
Support independent journalism by subscribing to the Sunday Times. Only R20 for the first month.