‘I just saw her body lying there’
“THERE were many other bodies there but it was like they weren’t there. I just saw hers, the mother of my children.”
That was how father of three Mlungisi Chamane described finding his partner’s body at a state mortuary after the crash which claimed 13 lives outside Pietermaritzburg on Monday.
Jabulisile Khwela, 33, of Mpolweni had been in a minibus taxi on her way to work when the crash occurred.
It was alleged a tanker, a minibus taxi and a bakkie collided on the R33 highway where 13 people, including a pregnant woman, were pronounced dead at the scene.
It is alleged the truck driver, who failed to stop at the stop sign, fled the scene and is still being sought.
Police are investigating a case of culpable homicide, reckless and negligent driving and failing to stop. An accident docket was opened at Cramond police station.
The Department of Transport has established a multi-disciplinary team of experts to investigate the crash.
Yesterday, Chamane said that Khwela left home at 6.45am while he left home at 7.10am to drive his ill neighbour to Grace Hospital.
“While driving on the R103 Greytown road, we came across an accident and were told to use an alternative route. I had a bad feeling, something kept saying I must phone Jabulisile. I was thinking of where I had seen the accident and the time she had left home something was wrong.
“Her phone kept ringing. I phoned some guys and asked if they had heard of any taxis from Mpolweni that had been involved in an accident. They said yes, and said whose taxi it was.
“I instantly saw this as confirmation of my fears. She took the very same taxi they were talking about to work every day.
“We decided to go to the scene of the accident instead of waiting. There we asked police where the deceased had been taken and he told us they had been taken to a state mortuary.
“I walked around the truck and saw her high heel shoe. I picked it up and my heart told me that I would find her at the mortuary. When I saw her there, I knew I had to go home and tell our children,” he said.
The couple have two boys aged 14 and 11, and a girl, 10.
Yesterday, Social Development MEC Nonhlanhla Khoza visited the families of those who died.