Johannesburg – The Deputy Minister for Sports, Arts and Culture Nocawe Mafu said the government didn’t have enough funds to fly the OR Tambo Netball team to compete at Spar Netball Tournament in Cape Town.
Mafu and the Eastern Cape MEC for Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture Fezeka Nkomonye visited the homes of OR Tambo Netball team members who died in a bus crash over the weekend on their way to Spar Netball Championships which is currently taking place in Cape Town.
At least four team members, three players and the coach died when the bus which was hired for the team from Mthatha to Cape Town crashed at Aberdeen and injured 21 team members who have since recovered.
The sports ministry visited the homes of Indiphile Mfengu, Onele Charles and the team coach, Nocamagu Vuyiswa and are visiting the fourth casualty Tabisile Maxikixa today.
Mafu was asked about a social media post which questions the bus travel for a distance which is more than 100 kilometres for players that were still going to compete at their arrival.
She said: “This competition involves various districts and the government doesn’t have enough funds to fly and accommodate everyone. We have budget constraints and on those constraints we must also develop all the sports codes.”
During their visit at the home of the 43 year-old team coach,
Nocamagu’s elder sister Nomalinge Mvunyiswa said her death cuts deeper because a year ago they lost their mother.
She said her younger sister really loved sports and had participated in basketball, ladies rugby and table tennis from a young age.
Mvunyiswa said: “I’m left with children now. I don’t know where to start in preparing for her funeral.
She’s got a daughter who is 23 year-old, she’s been crying inconsolable, I have to take her to the doctor,” she added.
After the visit to the Mvunyiswa family the next visit was with the family of 30 year-old Onele Charles.
Charles’ family said they depended on her because she had a better job than the rest of them.
The family is also recovering from the loss of their father who died a year ago.
Charles’ cousin Loyiso Madwantsi said: “Onele was a loving person.
We are saddened by her death because she’s living her three-year-old daughter as an orphan. Her mother now has to look after her daughter,” she stated.
The bus crash survivor Noncedo Mbube said it feels like she has lost a family members. Mbube said they formed a very close bond during the camping in preparation for these games.
“I’m grateful to God that I survived and I’m grateful for all the survivors. I’m still haunted by what I saw and I pray for the healing of the families who have lost their loved ones, their loss is our loss as a team.”
Vice President of Netball South Africa Mami Diale said the deceased members of OR Tambo team are a loss to the netball fraternity.
“We lost talent and a coach with a promising coach. This is something that is out of the blue, we did not anticipate it, it came as a shock. We are still in shock and hurt.
We saw it fitting that we must come to the families because we also know that they are in so much pain. Knowing that your child is never coming back is such a pain,” said Diale.
Mafu said they are relieved as the government because bodies of the deceased have been released to the families and the Eastern Cape Department of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture is expected to hold a memorial service early next week.
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