TWO Mlungisi families are in mourning after an unmarked police vehicle hit and killed two boys, aged 11 and 13, in Pambo Street on Saturday afternoon. Luhle Mtola and Ndinani Gqogqokonyela died on the scene, apparently as they were crossing the road, Mlungisi station commander Colonel Gcinikaya Taleni said this week.
Taleni said the officer was rushing to a crime scene at the time. “There had been a hijacking incident in the Lady Frere-Dordrecht area and after getting that information the police officer was rushing to offer back-up.”
An eyewitness, who did not want to be named, claimed the boys were walking on the opposite side of the road to the car.
“I do not know how the driver got to that side of the road. He applied his brakes late and after he knocked [down] those boys, we realised that they were dead and asked the driver what he had done.“He told us that he was rushing to a crime scene. The people started to shout at him and he took out his gun and we moved away.”
Mtola ’s uncle, Lwazi Mtshotsheni, said he had sent the boys to deliver cellphone covers to a customer when the accident happened. He said he had given them five covers each to sell. “After an hour, I heard a loud bang and when I rushed to see what had happened, I saw my nephew and my neighbour’s son lying dead in the road.” He said he confronted the driver of the vehicle and a scuffle ensued. “I grabbed his keys and we fought over them. Other police members came and they took him away from the community members.
“I do not understand how a car that was supposed to be driving on the left killed boys who were walking on the pavement on the right. This is a busy road full of school children and taverns and people are always walking up and down,” he added.An emotional Mtshotsheni said people in the township were blaming him for the deaths. “My nephew was only here for the weekend because we had called him from Ezibeleni to come and get Christmas clothes. Now I am being called all sorts of names and people are saying that I am the one who caused the death of these children. God knows I had no control over what happened and I would like everyone to forgive me – both boys were like my own sons.”
Shortly after the accident, Ndinani’s mother, Unathi Gqogqokonyela, collapsed and was rushed to Frontier Hospital. Speaking to The Rep this week, she described her son, a Grade 4 pupil at Thembelihle Primary School, as a humble boy, who always helped out at home. She said they had not yet set a date for the funeral and that the driver of the police vehicle had not yet visited the family to apologise. “I do not even know how I will bury him because I do not work. The police came and gave us R270 and the driver of the car that killed my child has not come to us to talk about this.”
Police spokesman Captain Namhla Mdleleni said a case of culpable homicide was being investigated.