Three children die in horror taxi accident

Three children died after a horrific taxi accident in Mdantsane on Saturday Thandolwethu Lindani, 11, died at Cecilia Makiwane Hospital on Saturday night. She was in Grade 5.

DEVASTATED: Lilitha Mnyanda’s aunt Vuyokazi Siboyana and her father, Zolani Siboyana , weep as Vuyokazi recounts how the three children were killed in the accident at the weekend. Picture: ZWANGA MUKHUTHU

Her sister, Unabo Lindani, 7, and friend, Lilitha Mnyanda, 9, died on the side of the Qumza highway on Saturday afternoon. They were in Grade 2 and Grade 4.

A fourth child, Lilitha’s younger sister, Lathitha Mnyanda, 7, survived unharmed. She ran home, clutching a broken bowl of chocolates, to report what had happened.

The four girls were on the pedestrian sidewalk selling chocolates and sweets when a white Toyota Quantum minibus taxi ran into them. Witnesses said the taxi driver, travelling with his conductor, was entering Mdantsane from town when he tried to overtake a vehicle and lost control of the taxi.

He left the road and slammed into the girls. Lukhona Kalkeni, 27, said the impact crushed Thandolwethu before the vehicle dragged Unabo and Lilitha through shacks and down a cliff. “The taxi took out a shack and left Unabo there. She was slashed by the zinc from the shack, and it [taxi] continued sliding down into the valley with Lilitha underneath before it came to a rest on the rocks down the cliff.

“Unabo died immediately. I rushed to the taxi and found the driver looking for his shoes inside the wrecked taxi. He found them, put them on and fled on foot.

“When I looked inside the taxi there was a half bottle of Commando brandy and a soft drink.”

Police and paramedics were called to the scene and helped search for Lilitha but to no avail.

Lilitha’s father, Zolani Siboyana, 33, arrived on the scene and after seeing the wreckage of the taxi, he rushed to look for his little girl. He searched for his daughter under a pile of rocks with Kalkeni’s help. “He found her stuck underneath the rocks a few metres from the taxi and brought her up to paramedics, who declared her dead,” Kalkeni said.

When the Dispatch visited the family yesterday, Siboyana was too distraught to speak. His sister Vuyokazi Siboyana, 28, spoke on his behalf. They sobbed bitterly as Vuyokazi recounted the events.

“What kind of monster would kill three children and run away? I just want to see him and ask him ‘are you satisfied with what you have done’,” she said.

The Dispatch found the Lindani family’s neighbours mourning the death of the two siblings. Their mother, a domestic worker in East London, was not at home. “The accident occurred at a time when the mother does not have money,” neighbour Nobantu Nyengani said as she comforted the children’s grandmother.

Mdantsane police spokesman Captain Nkosikho Mzuku said the driver of the taxi was still at large. Police have opened a case of culpable homicide. — zwangam@dispatch.co.za

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