“He was driving too fast. He refused to heed our appeals that he drives slowly. He usually drives fast and it was not the first time I have been in his car,”the survivor said.
“We were coming from an illegal crossing point near Dite after we developed cold feet taking a consignment of cigarettes across the border because we had seentoo many suspicious people we feared would rob us.”
He said they paid soldiers at Dite
R3 000 to be allowed to pass with cigarettes, only to find the illegal crossing point teeming with known criminals.
“Prior to that, we had paid some police officers at Tshinwanyane R500 protection fee. We lost all that money and seven lives, including the cigarettes. Thesoldiers had actually asked for R10 000.”
A sombre mood hung over Beitbridge Hospital, where dozens of relatives of the deceased were trying to identify the dead and hear first-hand news fromsurvivors.
The relatives also paid $600 for fuel for the ambulance to carry their badly injured loved ones to referral hospitals.
Linda Kapfurutsa, who had come to see an injured neighbour, said: “We are not happy with the pace the injured are being handled. They should have been transferred a long time ago to other hospitals.”
At the mortuary, relatives wailed as police off-loaded bodies of the deceased into the mortuary, while relatives helped identify the mostly young men who eke out a living from being porters of smuggled goods.
“There is no employment. This is the gravity of the mess we are in. Young men risk their lives in these treacherous jobs, where it’s only survival of thefittest,” said Winnie Kennias, whose brother-in-law was among the dead.
Most of the deceased left behind young families.
In Guruve, the 31 injured victims were ferried to Guruve Rural Hospital.
Sources at the accident scene told NewsDay that the truck’s side boards opened at a curve near Guruve.
“The overloaded truck was coming from Bakasa and when approaching a curve at the 7km peg at Ona Mapeto bus stop, the truck’s boards opened and passengers were flung onto the road,” the source said.
Mashonaland Central police spokesperson Inspector Milton Mundembe could not be reached for comment.
Guruve district war veterans chairperson Bernard Mondo expressed sadness over the accident.
“We are very saddened by the accident, though no fatalities were recorded, but it made many people to go back home in fear of losing lives,” he said.
Credit: Source link