THE driver who died in an unusual and tragic accident when a shipping container toppled off the Albany Road off-ramp in Port Elizabeth and flattened the front end of his bus on Tuesday was a loving husband and father, and a dedicated employee.
Livi Mazonda, 58, died while emergency services were trying to free him from the wreckage.
He was the only person in the bus. As he was ahead of schedule he was waiting for a slot at the Strand Street terminus when the 40m container rolled off a truck, dropping 15m before landing on the bus. The front of the bus was flattened to a height of about 1m.
Mazonda’s wife of 25 years, Nokhuselo, 51, said yesterday he meant everything to her and their two sons, aged 14 and 20.
“He did not deserve to die like that. I wish we could have been given enough time to say goodbye to him,” she said.
“We had plans to go on a little holiday on December 15 and we were all looking forward to that as it was just going to be us and the kids. We always go out at this time of the year before the festive rush.”
Nokhuselo said her husband had worked as a driver for Algoa Bus Company for 14 years.
“I could not believe it when my sister- in-law, Nolulama Mazonda, came to tell us that my husband was no more,” she sobbed. “How was it possible, because when he left in the morning there was nothing wrong with him.”
Nolulama said she had received a call from her husband, Tshali, who was Mazonda’s brother, about the accident.
“It was such a difficult thing for me to break the news to the family as Livi was so close to them,” she said.
The family went to identify Mazonda’s body at the morgue yesterday, and said a long cut from his forehead to the back of his head was the only injury they could see.
“I think that is what killed him. All I see is negligence in this because if the container was tight this could have been avoided.
“The truck company did not even bother to come to us and explain what happened. They should have done that yesterday [Tuesday] because today [Wednesday] it is already too late for that,” Nokhuselo said.
The accident also shocked residents around the Bay, with news of it spreading via social media.
Mbongeni Tyesi wrote on The Herald’s Facebook page: “It is the third time this year that an accident is happening in the same place. First it was a taxi, then a truck and now a container of a truck. Sad indeed. Condolences.” Mandy Hall Tuck wrote “Lots of money has been spent on upgrading this part of the road and there is a speed limit of 40km, just how can something like this happen.”
Asked whether there was anything the municipality could do to avoid such accidents, spokesman Kupido Baron said: “It was a freak accident. Those things are not in the hands of us mere mortals.”
Alison Briggs, spokeswoman for freight logistics and shipping services company Grindrod Limited, said she was not aware of the incident but would look into it.