Rugby fraternity reels after Swallows three die in smash

The Border rugby community is reeling after two Swallows players and a Border Bulldogs logistic manager were killed after their bakkie overturned on Saturday evening.

They have been named as Swallows captain Mzwandile Yalezo and player Onke Gqadushea and Border Bulldogs logistic manager Tyron Roberts, who was also part of Swallows’ staff.

Two others in the vehicle were injured, but Border rugby has not released their names, saying only that they were recovering.

In a statement, Border rugby said: “The three rugby enthusiasts and comrades died in a car accident on their way to King William’s Town from a rugby match in Nxarhuni.”

In a statement the Eastern Cape transport department said the accident happened on the N2 near Breidbach. The victim’s Toyota Avanza overturned, killing three passengers, while the driver and one passenger sustained injuries.

No further details of the accident were available.

The union offered condolences to the families and rugby fraternity and asked the public to respect the families’ privacy.

Border rugby president Phumlani Mkolo expressed his condolences, saying it was a very painful and difficult time for all at Border rugby.

“We are sad, but we think more for the parents. We wish that they derive strength from God,” said Mkolo.

“There is nothing we can do about but just pray to derive strength to go forward.”

Mkolo declined to name the survivors out of regard for the families, saying: “They are out of danger, but I don't have all the details.

“We met as Border leadership this morning (Sunday) and agreed we would provide any possible support where necessary. We will also look to work with other players to help them get through this.”

He said a memorial service would take place this week but dates were yet to be confirmed.

Sports department (SRAC) senior manager for development Bafundi Makhubalo extended SRAC’s condolences.

“We heard about the tragedy and feel very sad. We have been in contact with Swallows and Border rugby on the matter and are following developments closely.”

“When we lose young people who are part of the future of a sport it is very depressing and it will take time to heal.”

The transport department also announced a further 11 fatalities in eight motor vehicle accidents on Eastern Cape roads over the weekend.

In total, 10 passengers, two drivers and two pedestrians died. These were: at Graaff-Reinet on Saturday (one fatality); at Satan's Neck in Ngcobo on Saturday (two dead); between Mthatha and Libobe on Saturday (one died); between Joubertina and Karreedow on Friday (two died); between Mthatha and eNgcobo (three died); near Baziya (one pedestrian killed); and in Butterworth (one pedestrian killed).

The main causes were cited as speed, fatigue and reckless driving.

Culpable homicide cases have been opened in all the accidents, the department said.