A woman from Nkulumane suburb in Bulawayo died yesterday in Pretoria, South Africa, on a Johannesburg-bound Greyhound bus and her family has accused the bus company of dumping her body at a mortuary in the neighbouring country without informing her relatives.
Siwineni Khumalo (62) was visiting her children in South Africa when she allegedly fell sick in the bus and started vomiting until she died.
Her family yesterday said that they were struggling to come to terms with her sudden death.
Khumalo’s brother, who is also the family’s spokesperson, Mr Mlindeli Khumalo, said they are still in the dark on what could have caused her death.
He said the bus company did not officially communicate with them following her death.
Mr Khumalo said they were shocked that a reputable company like Greyhound lacked customer care as it failed to alert Khumalo’s relatives about her death.
“What we’re told is that she was vomiting. It doesn’t make sense that someone’s health takes a nose dive and the bus authorities who we entrust with our lives do nothing. They’re supposed to have a traveller’s details with contacts of the next of kin. They didn’t call anyone among us. We doubt they even tried to assist her,” he said.
Mr Khumalo said his sister’s children learnt about their mother’s death at Park Station in Johannesburg when they were waiting for her.
“When they inquired about her whereabouts from the bus officials, they were just told that the person fitting her description was left in a mortuary in Pretoria,” he said.
“That’s all they told her children who had to find their way back to Pretoria where they found her dead.”
Mr Khumalo said what was even puzzling was that when she left, she did not complain of any complications.
“I spoke to her twice when she was in Gwanda and before crossing the border. There is nothing that could have made me suspect that she wasn’t feeling well. The only information that we’ve is that she vomited and what caused that is still a mystery to us,” he said.
“We’re hoping that officials at Greyhound Coaches can come out in the open and explain to us how she died. They’re the only people besides passengers who we don’t know who can tell us what transpired. They’re the only authority with answers that we need. We need explanations but up to now they haven’t said anything besides directing us to where they dumped her body.”
He said the family has already moved her body to another mortuary in Johannesburg.
An official from Greyhound Coaches at the Park Station office in South Africa said the company does not have information regarding Khumalo’s death.
“We don’t know anything about the incident you’re talking about. I’ve checked the passenger register, we don’t have that name but for more information contact our station manager tomorrow (today),” said the official who did not disclose her name.