Citizen Reporter
2 minute read
7 Aug 2018
11:31 am

Woman takes on Prasa over son’s missing body

Citizen Reporter

The mother of a man killed in a horrific train accident says she has been forced to conduct her own search to find her son's missing body, as Prasa refuses to help.  

Emergency service workers work at the site where a train crashed into truck on January 4, 2018, in Kroonstad, Free State Province.

A Soweto mother has not yet been able to bury her 24-year-old son who died in a rail crash seven months ago, The Star has reported.

Gift Mathe was one of the 24 passengers who were killed when a train crashed into a truck in the Free State, bursting into flames on impact.

At the time, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) claimed it was “committed to ensuring that every missing family member is accounted for”, and said they would make use of DNA testing to do so.

But Lydia Mathe, Gift’s mother, said she had been forced to conduct her own search to find her son’s missing body.

She claimed Prasa had provided little support, and that officials were “rude and unwilling” to help her.

Mathe added she used her own money to travel between the Free State and Gauteng, looking in mortuaries and hospitals in an attempt to find her son.

READ MORE: 18 dead, 254 injured as South Africa train slams into truck

According to Prasa spokesperson Nana Zenani, 21 of the 24 victims of the crash have been found and buried by their families.

She said the three outstanding bodies had been delayed due to DNA sampling and work that was being done by pathologists.

Zenani claimed she had offered Mathe support by way of arranging counselling and keeping her informed about the scientific identification process.

“Ms Mathe was even taken to the pathologist laboratory for her to get a detailed explanation,” she said.

But Mathe claimed Prasa was engaging in “bald-faced lies”, saying she was the one visiting the agency’s Park Station offices in the hope of getting answers.

The mother said she had had enough. “Very soon Prasa will know who I am,” she said. “I’m not going to play anymore.”

She attributes the rail agency not taking her seriously initially to her “soft and kindhearted” nature, and said others who were more demanding and swore when dealing with Prasa officials were more likely to have been helped.

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