“I was pulled back and before I could scream ‘hey’ it had already happened”.
These were the words of one lucky survivor of the horrific accident that claimed eight lives on Thursday evening the 14th of July. The accident occurred on the Selwane Road (D3260) when a Nissan 1400 was hit by a heavy truck and then a minibus taxi.
A Nissan 1400 bakkie carrying 13 young boys on the back, had become stuck next to the road and the boys had jumped off to push the vehicle in an effort to jump start it. During this effort the vehicle took and restarted afterwhich the 13 boys raced to jump back onto the back of the now moving vehicle.
During this race the boys scuffled and clammered in order to jump back on board and secure a seat. It was during this scuffle that one of the boys was pushed out of the way by a friend who jumped ahead of him to steal his spot on the back.
This action pushed the young boy away from the vehicle which was struck by a truck a few seconds later. The truck swept the entire bakkie and its occupants up off the road, before a taxi travelling in the opposite direction collided with them head on, killing eight people and injuring the rest.
The 13 boys were all travelling to an initiation school in Selwane, ahead of the initiates exiting the following day.
According to the reports seven people died on the scene, one person died on the way to hospital, and the rest of the people were injured, and taken to Maphutha Malatji hospital in Namakgale.
Speeding and reckless driving was cited as possible causes of the accident and the road was closed for a period as the forensics team finalized their analyses.
The Limpopo Transport and Community Safety MEC, Polly Boshielo, sent messages of condolences to the families of the deceased. “We are saddened by these fatalities and send our deepest condolences to the families that are affected in this tragic incident.
We plead with motorists to obey the rules of the road, for them to arrive at their respective destinations alive and sound,” she stated.
“It cannot be right that motorists become impatient to a point where lives are lost in this manner.We have to, at all times, obey and follow rules to the letter. It’s the only way to arrive alive and save lives.”
The Ba-Phalaborwa Municipality Mayor, Merriam Malatji, accompanied by the Speaker, Oliver Mabunda, Acting Municipal Manager, Dr Kgoshi Lucas Pilusa, Ward Councilors, as well as, the Acting Lulekani Police Station Commander, Captain Shadrack Dlamini, paid a courtesy visit to families of the eight children who lost their lives during the horrific car accident.
According to the municipality, the bereaved families are considering a mass funeral to allow relatives and friends to have enough time to mourn and give their children a dignified send off.
The mayor said that the Municipality was committed in supporting these families during this time. “We are here as the leadership of the Municipality to provide support and comfort to these families. In addition, the Municipality will continue to work closely with these families through our Ward Councilors until the last day.”
The mayor also stated that it was clear that “The mass funeral is in line with the families wishes not that of the Municipality. However, the Municipality will respect and support any decision taken by these families. The official service will take place at the Lulekani Community Hall on Saturday.
The Municipality said it would also coordinate social workers and psychologists to help survivors with extensive counselling.