Ramaphosa & Mokgweetsi Masisi visit crash scene where 45 Botswana nationals died in Limpopo

President Cyril Ramaphosa and Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi are on Thursday expected to visit the bus accident site where 45 citizens of Botswana died at the Mmamatlakala Bridge along the R518 in Limpopo.

The ill-fated bus was transporting Botswana citizens, from the capital Gaborone to the popular Saint Engenas Zion Christian Church (ZCC) for the annual Easter service attended by throngs of people from different parts of the world.

Only one passenger, Standard 4 learner Lorraine Atlang Siako survived the horrific crash, and was hospitalised. She was travelling with her grandmother, who died in the crash.

IOL reported last week that Lorraine had been discharged from a Limpopo hospital and was escorted by several medical care workers, senior government officials and members of the media as she arrived at the Polokwane International Airport, to catch an hour-long connecting flight to the OR Tambo International Airport in Joburg.

From Joburg, Lorraine who was then joined by her mother, took the flight back to Botswana.

On Wednesday, the Presidency in Pretoria said the two heads of State and Government – Ramaphosa and Masisi — would commence the visit in Limpopo with a closed briefing by officials in Mokopane.

After the briefing, the presidents will then be visiting the accident scene along the R518.

“President Ramaphosa conveyed condolences on behalf of the government of South Africa to the Republic of Botswana following the tragic accident of a bus transporting Easter pilgrims to Moria,” said Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya.

The two presidents are expected to be briefed in Mokopane after 10 am.

The closed session is scheduled to happen before 11 am, before the two heads of State visit the Mmamatlakale Bridge, along the R518 Road, at around 1 pm.

The publication previously reported that tragedy struck near Mamatlakala, in Limpopo, on March 28 in the evening after the bus careened out of control, killing the 45 people and injuring the only survivor — Lorraine.

After the minor was discharged from hospital last week, Limpopo MEC for Health, Dr Phophi Ramathuba said the little girl has undergone an operation in Limpopo, and had been given the green light to travel back home.

“When she had fully recovered and her wounds were satisfactorily healed such that we can discharge her, when I had a conversation with her, she could now start narrating what she remembers – the bus speeding. I am sure it was the time the driver was trying to negotiate on the road,” said the MEC who is also a medical doctor.

“All she remembers is that she was carried and thrown out through the window. The grandmother here probably sacrificed her life and saved her granddaughter,” said Ramathuba.

“This is a very intelligent child who is beginning to remember. It is just unfortunate that she said after that (being thrown out of the moving bus) she blacked off and she remembers when she was with us at the hospital. She is quite an intelligent child.”

When she gained consciousness, Lorraine managed to recite her mother’s phone numbers in Botswana and the parent was contacted.

“You can see this is a very smart, and very special child,” said Ramathuba.


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