The death toll from the horrific accident that occurred in Nyanga on Saturday has risen to six after Lesley Matizakurima (5) succumbed to her injuries yesterday.
Lesley died at Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital (formerly Mutare Provincial Hospital) where she was admitted to the intensive care unit.
Family representative Mr Daniel Mupfunya said the family was notified of Lesley’s death around 5pm yesterday.
“As we were coming to collect the bodies of our relatives, we received a call from the hospital telling us that Lesley had died,” he said.
“Her mother died in the accident and is still in the mortuary as we speak, so this is some devastating news to us.”
The accident, which happened at the 34km peg along the Nyanga-Nyamaropa Road, also claimed the lives of Tapiwa Matizakurima (37), Rujeko Delight Matizakurima (33), Donald Tinashe Matizakurima (35), Vimbainashe Matizakurima (27) and Patience Dambaza (29).
Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba, said the province had experienced many road disasters in the past three years, some of which could have been avoided.
She said the terrain in Nyanga was bad and required drivers to exercise due care. The situation was worsened by the absence of signage to alert drivers of sharp curves or steep descends.
“This is a very serious matter and we will engage the Minister of Transport (and Infrastructural Development) so that we can invest in signage and road markings and save the lives of our people,” she said.
Dr Gwaradzimba said the Regina Coeli area was a black spot where accidents happened frequently and it was time action was taken to prevent more accidents.
The spot is the same where the Regina Coeli bus disaster occurred in 1991, killing 83 school children and five teachers.
Dr Gwaradzimba said the accident brought to the attention of Government the need to capacitate hospitals following revelations that some of the injured were being ferried to Mutare for X-rays since Nyanga District Hospital did not have a functional one.
She said the capacitation of hospitals was one of the high priority issues the province will put forward in the National Development Strategy 1 (2021-2025) being drafted.
Thirty-four members of the Matizakurima family were travelling to their rural home in Nyanga for a tombstone unveiling ceremony when brakes of the truck they were using became loose as the driver was navigating the steep curves.
The vehicles veered off the road.
The family laid to rest three of their relatives yesterday and the other two were expected to be buried today.