It was a devastating morning for the grandparents of seven-year old Banele Mkhize when they were called to the tragic scene of their grandchild who was knocked and killed on Friday, 12 October at the corner of Raffia Road and Crossmoor Drive.
Goodness Mngoma and Ndaba Mzelemu, said they didn’t expect to send their grandchild to school, for him never to return home.
The grandparents, who were too emotional to speak, have received endless support from the community members from the surrounding areas. It is alleged that the driver of the vehicle was unlicensed.
“Someone who knew it was my child called us to say he got knocked,” said the emotional grandfather.
According to police, the driver allegedly lost control of the vehicle and knocked the child.
Captain Cheryl Pillay, eThekwini Inner South Cluster Communications officer explained, “A seven-year-old child has sadly passed away whilst walking to school. It is alleged that a driver lost control of his vehicle, veering off the road onto the pavement where the child was walking.
“Paramedics pronounced the child dead at the scene. SAPS are investigating a case of culpable homicide and investigations are continuing,” she said.
However, the residents from the Raffia Informal Settlements are outraged by another loss, as this isn’t the first incident that has taken place.
Community activist Portia Noloyiso, says they are tired of losing their children, “We have raised the issue many times with the transport authority that we need speed calming measures, our previous councillor tried many times to get speed humps but the municipality have rejected.” she said.
She added that they requested scholar patrols and barriers to be placed on the road to assist with children when they are walking to and from school, but was denied by the municipality.
Nkululeko Phewa, Civil Engineer at the eThekwini Transport Authority stated (ETA), “Please note that Crossmoor Road is classified as a 4 HV road (Collector Street). It was assessed in accordance with the City’s Traffic Calming Policy. In terms of the assessment Crossmoor Road did not meet the requirement for the implementation of speed humps. As such the request for speed humps cannot be supported.”
The angered residents of the area say they don’t want explanations over emails, they want the authorities to speak them in person.
Ward 71 Councillor Previn Vadan said he sympathised with the family but they need time to grieve, “It’s unacceptable that an innocent life has been lost. The community has asked for speed humps and speed calming measures and we will look into that.”
Resident Abigail Sithole who has two children aged 9 and 11, who also attend the same primary school says this loss is as if it’s their own.
“We want them to come and speak to us, we will explain to them the issues we are having,” she said.
Crossmoor Policing Forum Chairperson, Zain Kassim says they are frustrated that nothing has been done to prevent reoccurrence at this intersection.
“Our heart goes out to the family, but this isn’t the first child to be knocked down in that area and certainly not the last. Unfortunately this time an innocent life was taken. The community has made numerous requests for speed calming measures, maybe now they would do a reassessment and look into the matter urgently,” he said.
Comment from Ethekwini’s Transport Authority’s (ETA) was not forthcoming at the time of going to print.