A hitch-hike to hell

A teenage girl jumped out of a moving bakkie on Monday after fearing for her life from a “good Samaritan”.

She and four other friends had hitch-hiked with a bakkie to get home to Zola from school.

“I told my friends I would rather jump from the moving vehicle than end up where it was taking us,” said 15-year-old Asanele Zongola.

The driver would not stop, so I decided to jump out,” said the grade 8 Inyathi High pupil.

The incident, which took place on Monday, left Zongola with a broken leg, stitches in her other leg and a face covered in bandages, but her mother Nonceba Sohoma, said she was “relieved and happy that her child is okay”.

Sohoma said: “I was distraught. It felt as if it was the end of the world. The shock of such an incident can certainly paralyse you.”

Zongola was on the back of the bakkie after she and her friends had hitched home when they finished a mathematics exam they had been writing on Monday. Zongola who was with four other girls said they had gone to a bridge by the road from which they usually hitch-hike.

They were trying to get to Zola from their school in Thornhill. She said they stopped a vehicle to ask for a ride home, but saw it was a white man driving and were hesitant to ask for the lift.

“It was only when it stopped that we realised the driver was a white man. We were scared to get on to the bakkie because he also had a dog with him in the front,” she said.

She said however they got on to the vehicle which they identified as a double cab white bakkie. They all rode on the back.

The group of girls were alarmed when the driver did not stop where they had asked him to stop and then started hitting against the bakkie window. The man, however, continued to drive. That is when Zongola panicked and jumped from the vehicle.

“The other girls said they tried to hit the car even harder, but the driver would not stop. He continued to drive a considerable distance while they were screaming at the back,” said Sohoma.

When the car eventually stopped, the rest of the girls jumped off and ran to assist Zongola. They said the driver did not get out of the bakkie to talk to them and just sped off.

It was then that one of the girls stopped the car of school principal, Thanduxolo Fatyela, who was driving past on the same route. “We were stopped by one of our pupils saying something had happened by the side of the road,” said Fatyela.

He said the school had a transportation problem: “The government transport does not accommodate all the students who come from the surrounding villages.”

He said Zongola was one of the unfortunate pupils who were unable to get on to the list of pupils who are ferried to the school. “We want all our pupils to have space in the government transportation. It is unfortunate that some parents have to make private arrangements, but this is something we are still discussing with the department of education.

“If our school had sufficient arrangements for our pupils we would not have had this incident occurring.” He said this was, however, the first time such a thing had happened.

Sohoma said what happened to her daughter was very painful to the family. She has opened a case to search for the man who was driving the car.

Police spokesman, Captain Namhla Mdleleni, said a case of reckless and negligent driving was opened.

I just want him to explain what he wanted to do with our children. Where was he taking them? We can never be certain about people’s intentions now, even if they offer help. I am in anguish thinking about how scared my daughter was when she decided to jump from a moving car,” said Sohoma.

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