By Clive Ndou
South Africa – A road grader driver who is still at large after running over four children in South Africa, is believed to have skipped the country and fled to Zimbabwe, SA police said Thursday.
“He is a Zimbabwean and we believe he is either on his way or already in that country,” a police source close to the investigation said.
The driver is believed to have been under the influence of alcohol when the grader he was driving ran over the four kids in Ndwedwe, north of Durban, a police source said.
The children – Hlengiwe, 11, Zanele and Langelihle, both four, and Busisani, two – are all from the Magwaza family in Ndwedwe.
An employee of Aqua Transport and Car Hire said the driver fled and left the grader’s engine running after realising he had run over the four, who were playing on the side of the road.
South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Transport Sindi Chikunga, who visited the bereaved family in Ndwedwe yesterday, demanded the driver must face the might of the law.
“We do not care whether he is hiding inside the country or in Zimbabwe. Police must find him so he can answer for what he did,” she said.
Chikunga, accompanied by a government delegation, said owners of Aqua Transport and Hire, which is carrying out construction work in the area, also have questions to answer.
“We want to know why they employed him. They should provide us with evidence that the driver had all the necessary documents that entitles him to work in this country,” she said.
Police should also explain why they chose to pursue charges of only culpable homicide against the driver.
“That the driver is alleged to have been drinking suggests people were still not heeding the call not to drink and drive. What this tells us is that we must be ready to put lots of people behind bars during the Easter holidays,” she said.
Mothers of the four children, Zandi, Buyi, Slindile and Zinhle – all sisters – were inconsolable on Thursday. Covered in blankets, the four sisters leaned on each other as mourners entered the hut where the grieving family members were gathered.
“It is one thing to lose one family member, but quite another to lose four family members at one go,” the children’s aunt, Khanyisile Magwaza, said.
“Since we are a poor family, it was our hope that one day these kids would lift up the family. This tragedy means we have lost our only hope.” KZN police spokesperson Jay Naicker said the driver was still at large. The children will be buried on Sunday. The Citizen.co.za