Injured youth describes how tragedy unfolded
A teenager injured when a taxi ploughed into a large group of youngsters during a street party told yesterday of the horrifying moments of the impact.
“I never saw the taxi coming. It didn’t even brake,” Anda Sikweyiya, 19, said from his hospital bed.
“It hit us from behind. I jumped out of the way when I felt the hit, but I fell.
“My friend could not jump fast enough. He was killed.”
The tragedy occurred in the early hours of Sunday, when the taxi smashed into the group of about 1000 youngsters who had gathered for a “pens down” party in Njoli and Spondo streets in Zwide, and then sped off.
Anda’s friend, Siyasanga Adoons, also 19, who was walking beside him on the pavement, died in an ambulance on the way to Dora Nginza Hospital.
Yonela Matyu and Mngomezulu Nokulunga, both 14, were also killed.
Another seriously injured teenager, Sinomta Mlatebe, 13, was dragged 50m down the road by the minibus in the hit-and-run.
The suspected driver, Brighton Tsvipa, 30 – who was allegedly speeding – is still on the run.
Anda, of KwaDwesi, suffered a broken arm and leg in the accident, while Sinomta suffered a broken pelvis, severe facial injuries and internal organ damage.
Both of them are being treated at Livingstone Hospital.
“We were in Summerstrand at first,” Anda said.
“We then decided to go find our friends who were in Zwide. We took a taxi there to go look for them.”
He said they had arrived at the Eyethu Sports Bar – about 200m from the site of the tragedy – after 1am.
“People were arriving with taxis. They were all standing, talking and laughing in the street.
“They would go inside to buy alcohol and then walk around in the street.
“We were not in the road. We were on the pavement.
“I was looking for my friends. I saw one of them and called to him.
“It then all happened very fast.
“Out of the blue, a taxi ran down the road. My friend didn’t have the time to jump.
“The taxi didn’t even brake.
“I fell on the pavement on my face. When I lifted my head, I saw the taxi drive away. It was a Quantum taxi. It was empty.
“Everyone surrounded me. They were crying. They thought I was dead. I told them I wasn’t dead.
“Everything further is a bit of a blur. They told me Siyasanga had died in the ambulance.
“I didn’t feel too much pain at that stage.”
Anda said there had been a lot of drinking going on.
“Even the small children were drinking beer from tins,” he said.
The youth, who is busy upgrading his matric at PE College and wants to become a social worker, said: “I don’t know how I feel. A lot of lives were destroyed.
“My friend Siyasanga will never come back. We were friends for three years.
“He was still in high school.”
Anda said he was not in too much pain but struggled to move.
“My arm is broken in two places and my leg is also broken,” he said.
A single tear ran down Sinomta’s cheek as she spoke about the accident yesterday while her mother carefully applied petroleum jelly to her badly injured face and hands.
Sinomta, who was hit first as she crossed the road, was dragged about 50m behind the taxi.
At the time, she had been looking for her friend Yonela, who died in the crash. Sinomta’s pelvis was crushed and she needed emergency surgery to repair her lungs and internal damage.
She can barely move and cries out in pain when nurses adjust her bed.
Her mother, Noluzuko Mlatebe, 47, said: “Witnesses told us the vehicle dragged her along the road, from Shweme & Shweme Funeral Directors to the school.”
The family lives in New Brighton and it was past 4am on Sunday when Mlatebe received the phone call.
“I was already so worried when she did not return from the party,” she said. “Then the doctor phoned me.
“I was so scared and angry at what happened.
“I don’t even know what to say about that taxi driver.
“I am so angry for what he did to my child.”
Sinomta is a Grade 9 pupil at Ndzondelelo High School in Zwide.
“All she really wants now is her [missing] phone,” Mlatebe said.
“When we phone it, it rings, but we don’t know where it is.
“Maybe they put it with the things of the girl who died.” Police spokesman Captain Andre Beetge said the driver had sped off after the accident.
The badly damaged Quantum was found abandoned later in Bethelsdorp in the same street in which Tsvipa lives. Police have appealed for assistance from the public and anyone with information can contact Captain Schalk van Wyk on 082-527-7495.