Two on-duty police officers face a charge of culpable homicide after they were involved in an alleged high-speed crash that left two mothers and two children dead in Kya Sands, north of Johannesburg on Thursday.
The Douglasdale Station police officers are recovering in hospital. Police watchdog Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) is investigating the officers’ involvement in the incident. Among the victims is Nani Ncube and her seven-year old son Lethabo Rakgwale.
“It’s been so long since I saw her, so I was looking for her, all of a sudden I heard she was involved in an accident, it’s very painful for her,” says Nani’s nephew, Mzwandile Ncube. An eyewitness was working at a nearby construction site as the accident unfolded.
“I saw a police van, it was speeding, coming from that side. That police van lost control and it came this side of the bridge and it ended up hitting those people, and this light pole.”
What she saw still haunts her.
“We ran to see what’s happening, we found a kid’s leg and a woman’s leg, they were here and it was shocking, I was scared, I almost cried, I felt like it was my kid and my mom because everyone deserves to live,” adds the eye witness.
Not so lucky for 27-year old, Lerato Nthotso and her son Karabo either. Their family is also struggling.
“We didn’t expect that they would leave us this way, we expected a lot from them both because they were still young,” says Lerato Nthoso’s aunt, Francinah Khosana.
Lerato sent her a message to her family on Wednesday, not aware that it was her last good-night text.
“I struggle to sleep thinking a lot. I was expecting Karabo and his parents to bury, it’s another way round, I am going to bury them because of negligence,” Marie Motete, Mother-In-Law.”
But the question remains, were police travelling at high speed in a 60-zone?
“Once we have concluded our investigation we will then make pronouncement as to whether police were negligent and if any action will be taken against anyone,” says Ipid spokesperson, Moses Dlamini.”
The two officers are recovering in hospital. One of them was allegedly guilt-stricken moments after the tragedy.
“The policeman was trying to kill himself. They said no you can’t do this. But it’s because he realised his mistake,” says eye an witness.
The mothers had fetched their children from a nearby crèche when the vehicle ploughed into them.
Their families can only hope for justice.