Girl dies in fall from truck

Vanitha Louw, 12, died after she fell from hanging onto a moving truck in Tafelsig.

The parents of a Tafelsig girl, who died after hanging onto the back of a moving truck, have made a public appeal for help to bury their daughter.

Vanitha Louw, 12, died in Kilimanjaro Street, on Wednesday November 18. Her friend, Nakita Jacobs, 13, was seriously injured and had tyre tread marks across her abdomen. She was discharged from Mitchell’s Plain hospital at the weekend.

Vanitha’s mother, Juanita Duikers, and her father, Franklin Muggels, ask for help to bury their daughter, in a video put together by Mustadafin Foundation, a non-profit organisation.

Ms Duikers hopes her daughter’s death will serve as a warning to others.

She told the Plainsman she had just learned that “surfing” on a moving vehicle was a game the children played, and her daughter was possibly the first fatality in Mitchell’s Plain.

She was at work when she heard of her daughter’s death.

“I heard a child was dead and thought not my child,” she said.

Affectionately known as “Blommie”, Vanitha was a Grade 5 pupil at Yellowwood Primary School and had been a member of Mustadafin Foundation’s Isibindi Project assisting vulnerable children and youth on the Cape Flats.

Nakita’s mother, Tamarone, said the girls had lost their grip while hanging onto the truck together.

SAPS spokesman Sergeant Jerome Voegt said the activity happened all over Mitchell’s Plain but it went unreported. “It is extremely dangerous,” he warned.

The driver faced a charge of culpable homicide, said Sergeant Voegt.

Provincial Department of Health spokeswoman, Monique Johnstone, said Nakita had been discharged from hospital on Saturday November 21.

Bronwen DykeBeyer, spokeswoman for Golden Arrow Bus Services, said drivers daily found children jumping onto or hanging off the back of their buses.

“Our drivers cannot see if there is anyone on the back of the bus and this could lead to the type of tragic situation, which occurred last week,” she said.

“This is an extremely dangerous practice and as such we have requested assistance from law enforcement and SAPS.”

She appealed to parents to warn their children that this type of behaviour was not a game and that it could have “heart-breaking consequences”.

Last year a Tafelsig toddler grazed his face against the pavement, when a teenager was thrown from a moving bus, knocking the child to the ground.

Maxine Bezuidenhout, spokesperson for the City’s traffic service, said officers from their road safety education team spoke at schools and during school holiday programmes.

• Mustadafin Foundation, which has an office across the road from the Louw family, is helping with Vanitha’s burial and is looking for donations. It will cost about R7 000.

For more information and to make donations, call the foundation at 021 633 0010.