Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi on Saturday urged members of the public not to harbour ill feelings against the family of Amos Mnguni, the driver of a minibus taxi who died in an accident along with 18 school pupils and another man near Bronkhorstspruit in Gauteng last week.
Lesufi was speaking during Mnguni’s funeral service at his home in Wolvenkop village in Mpumalanga, where he was buried later on Saturday.
“As a government, we are not here to choose who is guilty and who is not guilty,” said Lesufi.
“We are here to give support to everyone. We have taken a conscious decision that we will provide assistance to every family. We will not discriminate against anyone. If this family needs counseling, we will give them counseling. If this family wants water, we will give them water.”
Mnguni, 76, died on April 21 on the R25 on the border of Mpumalanga and Gauteng when his minibus taxi in which he was transporting pupils to their homes collided with a truck. The minibus burst into flame and some of the occupants burnt inside it. The pupils were travelling to their homes in Wolvenkop and Verena from Refano Primary School and Mahlenga Secondary School in Sokhulumi village near Bronkhorstspruit.
Lesufi said the process of conducting DNA tests to identify other bodies was still underway, adding they might be buried next weekend if arrangements went according to plan. The accident had made government aware of the need to draft and promulgate laws that would regulate cross-border scholar transport systems so that pupils travelling to other provinces to attend schools could be assisted in different ways.
Lesufi thanked the affected families for their patience during the ongoing process of conducting DNA tests. The day on which the accident happened would be commemorated every year at the affected schools, he said.
Mnguni’s funeral was also attended by a group of male and female traditional healers wearing traditional healer’s regalia. Several speakers took turns to hail Mnguni as a good person whom they said liked helping people. Family members shed tears and wept while listening to the speakers.
Mpumalanga community safety MEC Pat Ngomane echoed Lesufi’s sentiments, saying it was no use pointing fingers at anyone over the accident. Mnguni was a traditional healer but he, just like any other person, could not foresee the day of his death as every person’s day of death was known only by God.
“As a government, we say let us work together and stop pointing fingers but believe in God,” said Ngomane.
Government had heard the people talking about the condition of the road where the accident happened and would discuss the issue with them in the near future, he said.
South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) Mpumalanga secretary Sphiwe Sibanyoni told the mourners that the council had established that Mnguni’s minibus taxi had valid permits to transport pupils. He said Santaco had made a commitment to train taxi drivers to maintain what he called good driver behaviour.
Mnguni’s brother Paulos Mnguni thanked government and everyone else who assisted the families of those who died in the accident. Mnguni is survived by his mother, daughter, two sisters, eight grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
– African News Agency (ANA)