DURBAN — South African police needed to act swiftly and arrest the Zimbabwean driver of the grader that killed four young cousins last week, mourners at the children’s funeral in Ndwedwe heard on Sunday.
A representative of Aqua Transport and Plant Hire, the employers of the unidentified man, said he was in the country legally and had a work permit. The company has been in the area since the beginning of the month doing roadwork.
Project co-ordinator and neighbour Nomusa Gumede said: “When I asked about him, I was told he is from Zimbabwe . . . Nobody knows where he is now, but the company has gone to great lengths to help with the investigations. Border posts are on alert for him; his accounts have been frozen. We hope he is arrested soon.”
Hlengiwe Magwaza (11), Busisani Magwaza (2), Langelihle Magwaza and Zanele Magwaza, both aged four, were walking home from a crèche when they were run over.
According to Gumede, Aqua representatives had tried to visit the family and offered to assist with funeral arrangements, but were told to come back after the burial.
Zamokwakhe Hadebe, the children’s uncle, said the family accepted the tragic deaths were God’s will, but they wanted the driver arrested.
Ndwedwe mayor Maxwell Hadebe said it was important to remember “mistakes happen” during development projects and people should not point fingers. He berated the community for not reporting the driver’s alleged drinking while driving the grader.
“(The) police need to find him so he can face the full might of the law,” he said.
Provincial transport portfolio committee chairman Mxolisi Kaunda said drivers were governed by road rules, which included not drinking
“Every person behind the wheel has a responsibility to obey the rules, or pay the price. We have to say this because we can’t stand here and crucify God for taking these kids,” he said. “But we can’t let the perpetrator off the hook. This is the doing of a person who failed to comply. He knew that, as a driver, you don’t get behind the wheel after having a drink.
“The law needs to take its course — police need to ensure this man is arrested soon.”