POLOKWANE, South Africa – 10 Zimbabweans and two drivers were lucky to survive the flames when the 22-seater minibus they were travelling in caught fire yesterday morning.
It happened on the R81 in Polokwane on their way to Zimbabwe.
They lost all their belongings, including corrugated iron, steel bars, empty gas bottles and groceries.
Driver Phumzile Nkomo (37) from Joburg said he felt the minibus lose power at 4am.
When he checked the mirror, he saw huge clouds of smoke coming from the vehicle and stopped to check what the problem was. But the mini bus was already on fire.
“I woke everyone and told them to jump out. There was nothing I could do to stop the fire because there was strong wind. Passengers lost everything. We tried to get their stuff out of the trailer, but the fire was everywhere,” he said.
The passengers were thankful they survived, but sad they lost their belongings. Lungani Ncube (32) from Zimbabwe said: “I had a lot of groceries, which would have lasted the whole of December.
“But I’m thankful the driver warned us before we got hurt.”
Polokwane municipal spokesman Thipa Selala said they sent out traffic cops and firefighters to the scene.