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Mom and baby die waiting

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Mom and baby die waiting

by Unity Klazen
07 Mar 2007
Peoples Post
Peoples Post

In agony from her own severe injuries after being hit by a bread truck, a Philippi mother spent the last traumatic hour of her life unsuccessfully trying to crawl to her toddler who lay metres from her gasping for air. After helplessly watching the life painfully seep out of her daughter Michaela, Stephanie Spolding drew her last breath 15 minutes after her two-year-old daughter died.

The only relief for Stephanie (32), who lay writhing in pain for an hour while waiting for an ambulance, was that her husband was at the scene trying to comfort her.

Speaking to People's Post, Isaac Mjamba (37) says he is still outraged by the events surrounding the death of his wife and daughter.

"I was with my family when the accident happened and I believe that if medical assistance was given earlier, they would still be alive," says an emotionally shocked Mjamba.

According to him, the pair died before his eyes after being knocked down by a bread truck at the corner of Lonedown Road and Hein Street in Hanover Park last Monday.

A Blue Ribbon truck ran into them at 14:30. Police were on the scene fairly quickly, according to eyewitness Nasiera Ariefdien, and Philippi Police's Inspector Zamuxolo Lingisi reported the accident on 26 February to Metro emergency services.

Over the next 90 minutes Ariefdien and other residents frantically repeated calls to emergency services to send an ambulance to the scene as the mother and baby slowly faded before their eyes.

According to Ariefdien, Stephanie had to watch her daughter die over a period of 45 minutes, before she herself passed away 15 minutes after her little girl. The ambulance only arrived at 16:05.

Hanover Park resident Ariefdien says she found Mjamba on the pavement with his daughter in his arms.

"When I got there just after the accident happened, the two were still alive. The wife tried to move across to her dying daughter. She had tears in her eyes." She says Mjamba was "treated like a dog" because people were driving past and not offering any assistance.

"He sat there and nobody cared. The man just lost his wife and daughter," she says.

Mjamba says he was told by police to move his dying daughter out of the road - contrary to standard first aid procedure. "I took her in my arms and sat there. There was nothing I could do to help them."

Kally, Michaela's twin brother, does not know about the death of his mother and sister yet. His poor state of health has made the family wary of breaking the news to him.

Mjamba is currently unemployed and is unable to pay for the funeral of his loved ones. Ariefdien has contacted an undertaker, Wayne Daanes from Community Funeral Services, to help Mjamba. Daanes, whose company has taken responsibility for the bodies, says he will supply the equipment, service, storage and hearse free of charge but the coffins and grave will cost Mjamba about R2000.

Mjamba's former employer, Andre Jacobs, has stepped in to contribute towards the cost. Although he won't be able to cover all the costs, he hopes the community will assist.

Steven Mallach, spokesperson for Blue Ribbon, says the driver has been suspended pending an internal investigation. Although Blue Ribbon has offered to pay for the catering of the funeral, the family has refused.

Meanwhile a case of culpable homicide is being investigated.

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