After helping a woman give birth inside his vehicle, a KwaZulu-Natal minibus taxi driver was rewarded with more than R40,000.
The SA National Taxi Council in the province (Santaco-KZN) gave 31-year-old Nhlonipho Zulu R33,500 and a certificate, and the rest came in the form of a donation from members of the public.
The mother of the newborn baby boy, Ntombenhle Mthembu, received R5,000, a gift pack and 500 disposable nappies, while the owner of the taxi, Nokuthula Mhlongo, received R3,000.
Earlier, Santaco provincial chairperson Boy Zondi applauded Zulu, saying that he showed that there were members of the taxi industry who were kind and humane – something which was rarely publicised.
The baby was born on 8 January when Mthembu, who was eight months pregnant, alerted Zulu to the fact that she was going into labour in his taxi.
At the time, he was on his way to Nongoma from Richards Bay to Nongoma and was about to conclude his shift.
He dropped off two passengers and rushed Mthembu to the nearby Buxedene Clinic. But she was turned away, leaving Zulu with no other option but to become her midwife.
The department of health in the province has since suspended two nurses at the clinic for failing to assist Mthembu.
The Santaco-KZN training officer, Jeffrey Ngobese, also commended Zulu’s kindness.
Ngobese promised that the taxi industry would advance drivers’ training by adding a first aid course so that they can help passengers if necessary.