Protest blamed for deaths

The Ndevu family are battling to come to terms with the sudden loss Andiswa Ndevu who died in a catastrophic car accident.

Two families, who lost relatives in separate incidents last week, are grieving and battling to come to terms with their loss.

The Mncedana family from Marikana informal settlement lost their four-month-old daughter who, they believe, developed breathing complications after the baby inhaled teargas fired by police attempting to disperse protesting residents during a violent service delivery protest (“Marikana – a war zone”, Vukani, June 27).

Police, however, have dismissed the family’s claims, and Phillipi police spokesman Captain Bheki Xulu, said post mortem results did not suggest that the inhalation of teargas had caused the baby’s death.

Grandmother Nandipha Mncedana said they were still battling to come to terms with the child’s death – and to cover the costs of her burial as their only source of income was from a child grant.

She appealed to the public to assist the family in burying her granddaughter.

She said the family of eight shared a tiny three-roomed shack.

“We are devastated. I just don’t know what to say or do. Whenever I think about this situation that I find myself in, I just cry. We have no one to turn to,” she said.

Also grieving, are the family members of Andiswa Ndevu of Lotus nearby Khikhi who died in a catastrophic car accident last Tuesday.

Police confirmed her death was linked to last week’s service delivery protest in Marikana.

It is believed that Ms Ndevu made a U-turn as she attempted to escape a group of protesting residents who were stoning vehicles in Marikana.

But before she could turn her car around, a speeding vehicle knocked the passenger side of her vehicle, dragging it for meters before coming to a standstill.

It is believed that the driver of the vehicle which knocked into Ms Ndevu’s car had jumped a red robot in an attempt to escape protesters throwing stones at cars.

The 36-year-old mother of four suffered major injuries to the head and died on the scene.

Her older sister, Thandiwe Ndevu, said she had a close relationship with her only sibling.

She said when the accident occurred, her sister had been on her way from her house in Ilitha Park.

When she received a call that her sister had been involved in accident, she said, she thought it had been a minor one and that her sister was still alive.

But when she arrived at the scene, she saw her sister’s lifeless body covered with a white shirt and her world “collapsed”, she said.

“There is nothing, I mean nothing, that could heal the pain of losing my sister. It has not yet sunk that she is no more. I’m just thinking about the last conversation that I had with her.

“Today its my birthday and one of her children’s birthday too – but we are grieving.

“When I called my sister she did not respond. This is one chapter that I would never close in my life. If people did not protest and stone vehicles, my sister would be still alive,” she said.

ANC caucus leader at City of Cape Town, Xolani Sotashe, said the organisation had a lost a trusted member and dedicated community builder.

He described Andiswa Ndevu as having dedicated her life to the betterment of her community.

While there was nothing wrong with protesting, he said, it was wrong when protesters damaged properties or hurt people.

He said had the residents conducted a peaceful protest, Andiswa Ndevu would still be alive.