State Media -9 people including five National University of Science and Technology (Nust) students died on Thursday in a horrific road traffic accident along the Zvishavane-Mbalabala highway, Matabeleland South Province.
The Government has since given a State assisted funeral of $1 million for each family to cover the funeral expenses. The accident which involved a Toyota Wish pirate taxi and a haulage truck occurred at the 197km peg near Amazon Shopping Centre, Insiza District. Civil Protection Unit (CPU) acting director Mr Nathan Nkomo said while they were awaiting for formal processes to go through, funds had been disbursed to relevant authorities who were tasked to forward them to affected families.
“The Government has announced that they have allocated $1 million each to the bereaved families to cater for funeral costs. We are doing this because this is a serious disaster and we are giving a State assisted funeral for the deceased. This has been done because of the nature of the accident. It was severe, even the state of the deceased people was such that it was not okay to continue holding them in the mortuary hence the need for expedition of the release and disbursement of funds. We realised that families may be in a hurry to give their relatives a decent send-off so there was an urgent need to get the process moving,” said Mr Nkomo.
Mr Nkomo, however, stressed the need for the public to use registered public service vehicles when travelling.
“We are shocked and disturbed by this accident, there were nine passengers in that Toyota Wish vehicle which should ordinarily be carrying way less than that. How can a driver do that? We also want to encourage the public to use registered public service vehicles when travelling. These pirate taxis are dangerous,” he said.
Mr Nkomo said despite the fact that the public favour pirate taxis as they are quicker than other modes of transport, they were putting their lives at risk.
“This is risky because now we understand that the driver encroached onto the lane of the UD truck killing people like that. Never use illegal transport operators when travelling,” he stressed.
Nust director of communication Mr Thabani Mpofu confirmed the death of the students and conveyed the institution’s condolences.
“We wish to notify the public of the passing on of five of our students, four girls and one boy. A dark cloud has fallen upon our horizon. We have been thrown into deep mourning. We are troubled, devastated, and left bereft of words,” said Mr Mpofu.
He said the students were on their way back from the burial of their classmate’s father.
“All of the students were first years while two are siblings. We convey our condolences to the families, the student body, and, the various departments. May the Lord bring peace and comfort to the families. We speak grace upon grace for the families to accept what has happened to them. Only God can touch the hearts of relatives. We pray for serenity to prevail,” said Mr Mpofu.
The five students have been identified as Rachel Mandiki from Bikita, Rutendo Nyangani from Mutare, and Masimba Mushanyikwa from Bulawayo. The other two who were siblings are Mary-Magdalene Nkala and Sambulelosenkosi Nkala from Masvingo. Sunday News visited the scene of the accident yesterday and found strewn pieces of what remains of the Toyota Wish wreckage. The scene was testimony to that the accident was horrific. Indications are that the Toyota Wish which was carrying the nine passengers was dragged for about 50 metres after colliding with the UD truck, killing all passengers on board. State Media