By Mkhululi Ncube
Government through the Civil Protection Unit has availed support to the Entumbane family which lost five members in a horrific road accident which claimed six lives in Polokwane, South Africa on Saturday.
Of the six, four are siblings from the Mkandla family and their four-year-old grandson.
The deceased were named as Nomasiko Mkandla (33) who died together with her four-year-old son Jayden Moabe, Mluleki Mkandla (30), Thulani Mkandla (26), Mthabisi Mkandla (22) the last born in the family and a malayitsha friend identified as Vusa Makukisi who was accompanying them.
The six died when their car was involved in a head-on collision and during the process another car rammed the side of their car.
They were trapped and emergency services in South Africa had to cut open the car to retrieve them. Three of them died on the spot while Thulani, the car owner and the one who was driving when the accident happened, was thrown out of the vehicle on impact and died in hospital. The grandson died in hospital as well.
Bulawayo Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Judith Ncube said Government has started helping the family.
“We made a presentation to Government, communication was made to our consulate in South Africa so that they can help with paper work.
There is also something that is being done to assist the family. It is a difficult and painful situation facing the family but we want to tell them that we are with them in our prayers as a city,” she said.
Ncube said the situation facing the family made them to appeal for assistance from Government because the grief facing the family has touched the whole city.
A Government official who spoke on condition of anonymity said it is most likely that the Government will refund the family the amount they would have used to repatriate the bodies from South Africa.
The source said had the accident happened in the country, it would have been easier for the Government to activate its systems to assist the family but with the accident happening outside the country it complicated logistics.
Meanwhile, Doves Holdings Zimbabwe has committed to assist the family when the bodies arrive in the country.
The company`s public relations manager Mr Innocent Tshuma said they were touched by the tragedy which befell the Mkandla family.
Four of the family members were covered under a Doves Funeral policy but the four-year-old had no cover. The company has said it will absorb burial expenses for the toddler.
“We are deeply saddened by the demise of so many family members in one accident. Our heartfelt condolences to the Mkandla family and the community. One can only but imagine the grief brought by this tragedy. The mother of the four children is our client and we will ensure a dignified send off,” he said.
The councillor for Entumbane, Sinikiwe Mutanda appealed to the city fathers to assist the family by offering free graves or reducing charges for the graves as a way of mourning with the family.
“After deliberating with the family, we wrote a letter to the council which was delivered yesterday. We are still waiting for the response but it is Ubuntu that in such painful situations we come together to assist each other. I hope our plea will be accepted because this is a tragedy,” she said.
Family spokesperson, Ms Nothando Ncube said they are planning to bury their loved ones on Saturday morning in Bulawayo.
“We are touched by the outpouring support we are receiving from all over. It is a difficult situation we are dealing with but the love and support from the community is valuable. Our plan is that the bodies will depart South Africa on Friday ahead of burial on Saturday,” she said. The Chronicle