Some families of people who died in a bus crash that claimed six lives on the R573 Moloto Road are up in arms over the alleged failure of the Public Transport Utility Company (Putco) to pay them monthly incomes they were promised.
Owen Kabini of Tweefontein Village in Mpumalanga – whose mother, Leah Kabini, died in the accident – told News24 his family expected the first payment from Putco at the end of June.
“We are very disappointed and we want answers from Putco,” said Kabini.
“My mother was the only one working and supporting us. If Putco does not pay us every month as it promised, we are going to suffer.”
Nomadlozi Madonsela also lost her mother, Linah Madonsela, in the crash.
She said her family was worried about how they would survive in the coming months.
“All of us are not working here at home,” added Nomadlozi.
The accident happened near Roodeplaat Dam on May 21 when a Putco bus caught fire. Six passengers burnt to death and scores of others were injured.
The bus was ferrying commuters from Pretoria to Tweefontein Village.
At the beginning of June, Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane made demands to Putco to assist the families of the victims.
Her demands included that Putco pay the family of deceased passengers R100 000 for funeral expenses and to replace the incomes of the dead and those who were injured with monthly earnings of up to a maximum of R10 000 until their claims from the Road Accident Fund (RAF) were finalised.
Putco’s business development executive, Matlakala Motloung, told News24 at the time, the bus company had acceded to all Mtshweni-Tsipane’s demands.
She said it would pay the injured commuters and families of those who died monthly incomes, which they were earning before the accident, for up to 12 months.
Motloung confirmed to News24 on Saturday that Putco did not pay the families at the end of June.
She said the office of Nomsa Mtshweni-Tsipane, the executive mayor of the Thembisile Hani Local Municipality, was still ascertaining how much the victims were earning prior to the accident.
“We are concerned that this process took longer than we expected. As soon as the government gives us data, we will process it and pay the families.”
Motloung added Putco had paid every family of the deceased R100 000 to cover funeral expenses.
Both Kabini and Madonsela confirmed their families received the funeral payments at the beginning of July.
Municipality spokesperson Simphiwe Mokoka said the mayor’s office was only asked to co-ordinate the process of verifying the victims’ earnings.
“It is not the mayor’s office that must verify the earnings of the victims,” said Mokoka, who referred further enquiries to the mayor’s office.
The premier’s spokesperson, Sibongile Mkani-Mpolweni, told News24 on Saturday the provincial government had assigned social workers to visit the victims’ families to determine their earnings.
“The process was delayed by Covid-19, but it will be finalised at the end of next week. The families will then be paid.”
The Kabini and Madonsela families buried their loved ones separately on Saturday.
This after they received the results of DNA tests that were conducted by the government to identify the bodies, said Mkani-Mpolweni.