Seven killed by speeding vehicle
The Ravhanga family of Tshidzini outside Thohoyandou, who lost two members during an accident that claimed seven people, said one of the victims, Wilson Ravhanga, had had a premonition about his death.
The family was hard hit when the head of the family and sole breadwinner, Wilson Ravhanga, who only had one hand, was hit when the driver of a speeding car lost control, in what is believed to be an illegal drag race. Ravhanga was coming from working at the church he headed in the village when he met his death.
Eyewitnesses claim that two cars were involved in a race at a spot where the speed limit is 60km per hour. The driver of one of the speeding cars is alleged to have lost control and ploughed into a group of people, killing and seven and injuring four. The driver of the other car is believed to have sped away.
The deceased are from Tshivhilwi, Tshikambe and Tshidzini.
The other victims of the accident, most of whom were believed to have come from attending a soccer match at the local soccer field, were hit metres away from the road. The incident, which shocked the community to the bone, happened on Saturday afternoon.
The names of the other victims are promising soccer star Kennedy Nemaungani (24) of Tshivhilwi, Daphney Mbedzi (16) of Tshikambe, Muneiwa Munwai, Thifhelimbilu Magaliba (31) and Vhusiwana Christinah Rangani (25), who left a seriously injured two-year-old child. The child, Tendani Nephalama, has since been transferred to a hospital in Polokwane.
Ravhanga's youngest son, Tsumbedzo (13), who could not be identified after the accident, was only identified by the family on Monday.
Ravhanga's daughter, Lufuno Ravhanga (31), said her father might have seen his death coming as he started announcing preparations for his burial months before he was killed. “My father had a premonition about his death. Last year, around December, he told me to use R1 500 from the proceeds of the burial society he was member of to secure burial rights at his own orchard, where his mother and brother are buried,” she said.
She said her father also told other people on the day he died that in case of his death, his coffin should rest at the church which he headed before being taken to the cemetery.
She described her father as a wonderful person who, despite his handicap, was able to provide for the family. “With his one hand, he was able to do thatching that even able-bodied people could not do. We are vgreatly saddened by the way he and my brother died; they did not deserve to die this horrible way," she said. Mr Ravhanga lost his right arm in 1956, when a crocodile attacked him in the Ngwedi River.
She said she was even more saddened by the way her brother had been killed. “His limbs were picked up piece by piece, which shows the severity of the impact and the speed the car was travelling. The whole incident has put us in a very difficult situation,” she added.
Well-known Venda musician Elvis Mandisa, who stays not far from the scene, said he always complained about speeding in the area. "We are greatly saddned that innocent lives had to be lost this way. We just hope the government will hear our plight and erect speed humps as motorists are speeding beyond the stipulated 60km per hour," he said.
Tshaulu police spokesperson Capt Mbudzeni Tshabuse said they were investigating culpable homicide and reckless driving charges against the driver of the vehicle. The driver of the accident car is under police guard at a local hospital.
Tshabuse could not confirm the drag racing allegations and whether the driver was licensed to drive but confirmed that it would form part of their investigations.