By Thupeyo Muleya
Bodies of nine Zimbabweans who died in a bus accident in Polokwane last Friday morning arrived in the country yesterday.They arrived in a convoy of 10 vehicles, a bus and a South African traffic police escort.
The victims, among them a one-year-and-three-months-old baby, were killed when the driver of an Inter Cape bus they were travelling in lost control of the vehicle which veered off the road around the Westenburg area along the N1 Road, a few kilometres outside the City of Polokwane.
The bus was on its way from Harare to Johannesburg with 61 passengers.
Zimbabwe’s Consular-General to South Africa Mr Henry Batiraishe Mukonoweshuro said they had facilitated the repatriation process with the assistance of the host government.
“We are very grateful for the cooperation and assistance we received from various stakeholders during our darkest hour,” he said.
“The South African government through the Road Accident Fund paid for funeral services and the caskets while Inter Cape catered for transport costs for the relatives.
Our Government through the Civil Protection Unit (CPU) provided other monetary and material support from Beitbridge Border Post until they got to their final resting places.”
The deceased are Memory Masara (25), Tafadzwa Nyatsine (22), Nokuthula Tiny Maarah (22), Tanaka Nhundu (22), Asichile Liwawanya (38) and Anenyasha Choga (a one-year-and-three-months-old baby girl), Peter Sithole (48), Joyce Chapingidza (58) and Aloise Tapiwa Chani (18).
The convoy arrived at the border post around 3pm accompanied by relatives and was welcomed by the Civil Protection Unit committee led by Beitbridge District Administrator Mrs Kiliboni Ndou-Mbedzi.
“Our hearts are heavy with sorrow and we would want to convey our heartfelt condolences to the beavered for their great loss,” said Mrs Ndou-Mbedzi.
National director of Civil Protection Unit Mr Nathan Nkomo described the accident as unfortunate.
He said Government will give each family $500 and 100kg of rice and other services.
“We have raised our assistance fund from $300 to $500 for each bereaved family and we will facilitate other necessary services so that they may bury our compatriots in dignity,” said Mr Nkomo.
The driver of the Inter Cape bus was on Monday morning arrested after he tried to skip the border to Zimbabwe.
George Themba (41) appeared before a Polokwane magistrate court on Tuesday charged with nine counts of culpable homicide and negligent driving.
He was denied bail and remanded to October 2. The Herald.