Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Three Zimbos plunge to death in SA flat

 A Zimbabwean family is struggling to come to terms with the tragic death of a male relative, his wife (pictured) and a family friend who all plunged one after the other into an elevator pit from 7th floor of a Johannesburg residential flat.

File picture of flats in South Africa
File picture of flats in South Africa

The tragic incident around 10pm last Saturday followed a fight between the deceased couple, Kelvin Nkomo (32) and his wife Charleen Tshabalala.

During the skirmishes, Tshabalala is said to have rushed to try and escape through the lift only to find herself plunge to a painful death through the pit as it turned out the elevator was not on the floor.

The same happened to Nkomo and a friend Ntando Maphosa.

Fanuel Khumalo, an uncle to Nkomo, related the incident.

“While in the corridor, my daughter-in-law (Tshabalala) pressed the lift buttons and it opened. She entered only to fall into the pit as the lift was not by that floor at the time.

“Nkomo tried to rescue her and he fell in as well.  Nkomo’s friend, Ntando Maphosa who was with the couple also tried to save them and he fell into the pit and they all plunged down and died. I do not know why the lift opened when it was not on that floor. They did not force it to open.”

The deceased Zimbabwean trio was retrieved the following morning around 4am by police.

Khumalo said the lift could not have been functioning well.

He was contradicted by Nicholas Barnes, CEO of Jozi Housing where tragedy struck.

“It is important to note that the accident was not the result of a failure of the lift. The lift landing doors were secure at the time of the fight between the couple,” Barnes said.

“The doors failed as a result of the extreme force applied to them, which caused the guide shoes at the base of the doors to be bent open.

“Their death was caused by a physical fight between a husband and wife against the lift landing doors on the 7th floor of the building. Such was the force of the fight that the lift landing doors (against which the wife was being pushed) had their lower guide shoes bent out of their rails, resulting in the lift doors swinging open and allowing them to fall down the shaft. A third person, who was trying to stop the fight was also dragged into the lift shaft while trying to prevent the couple from falling.”

Barnes said the lifts went through an annual maintenance routine and a certificate of fitness was only issued August this year.

He said they have since engaged independent lift consultant to conduct a full investigation into what could have happened.

Some of Nkomo’s relatives put the blame on what they claimed was a faulty lift.

They said the building owners should be held responsible for failing to maintain a lift which “swallowed the trio”.

Barnes distanced the flat from the causes of the tragedy.


  • Joburg has become a ghost city with so many companies deserting her for greener pastures leaving those high rising buildings for human habitation therefore leaving the task of servicing those structures to the public.

  • How?

    • Apparently my friend is the brother to the deceased and they were fighting with the wife. Seems they bumped into the doors of the lift and they opened as a result, hubby tried to save the wife he failed fell…the friend to the hubby tried to save the hubby failed fell as well. Its terrible

    • Bad

  • Ummm they must have been thrown out!

  • One after the other how?

  • Sounds fishy

  • Stranger than Fiction!

  • forest isk

    I pray for all Zimbabweans to have good life wherever they are outside the country.God bless us we are suffering.

  • So sad,may their souls RIP

  • mhepo idzi …vanhu ngatizivei Mwari ..tirwirwe muhondo dzemadzinza idzi nehuroyi

  • unosundirwa mhepo festive season ino…nxaaa hw painful this is

  • Maybe they were forced on gun point or they were blind

  • Thugs pushed them

  • RIP .Sympathy to the families.Tragic accident.

  • The lift was faulty that’s all they are trying to just pin it on the deceased like it was their fault

  • Fungai

    I’ve never heard such insulting nonsense as that spoken by this Mr Barnes, in trying to avoid liability. What is the point of an “independent” investigation when Barnes has already given a complete exoneration of his company? He should be sued.

  • Home is best for sure,, APA hatichazivi kuti zvafamba sei. Zororai murugare zvizvara zveZimbabwe

  • Home is best for sure,, APA hatichazivi kuti zvafamba sei. Zororai murugare zvizvara zveZimbabwe

  • Home is best for sure,, APA hatichazivi kuti zvafamba sei. Zororai murugare zvizvara zveZimbabwe

  • Chokwadi

    Don’t avoid accountability and liability, the elevator was mulfunctioning, the elivator doors shouldn’t have opened until the lift had reached that floor level, a very basic design consideration for security for all elevators.

    In fact employing a locking mechanism is standard practice.

    Alternatively, there might have being foul play involved.