Edith ‘Baleina’ Kunonga: Partially blind Zim woman killed after being struck down by train in SA
SOUTH AFRICA: A partially blind woman from Cape Town died in the early hours of Saturday morning after a train knocked her down.
Edith ‘Baleina’ Kunonga, 63, was the breadwinner in her family and would regularly walk by the Heathfield train station to get where she needed to be in order to sell her feather dusters and brooms to make a living.
Fundraising effort to repatriate Edith Kunonga’s body to Zimbabwe
Ndivo mai vakatsikwa neTrain kuHeathfield, Cape Town. She was partially blind. She survived by selling brooms and feather dusters. No policy her in SA. Please we need help to get her body home. She is from Highfield and left behind a daughter who is in Zimbabwe. Her name is Edith Kunonga. Thank you. My name is Christine. We fellowship together with the late.
Quotation for the Removal and Repatriation of Deceased from Cape Town to BeitbridgeHanding over to Nyaradzo Funeral servicesRemoval R9000,00Transport R7500,00Std Coffin R3500,00Border Toll R1100,00Border Fee R400,00Embalming R400,00Total Amount of Services InclusiveR21900,00Done For
Pastor Charles White, from the Eternal Flame church where Kunonga would regularly attend services, said when he got the call to say she was knocked over he rushed to the scene, which is directly opposite the church building.
“She was rushing to work because she wanted to come back early to clean the church with the other congregants. She was a very hard-working woman and loved by so many of us because she was a lovely person to be around. She would walk the streets every day to sell what she could. She didn’t deserve to pass on like this, ” White told News24.
According to White, Kunonga, who was known to the entire community as “Edith”, had developed cataracts in her eyes which caused her to go partially blind.
“She’s been waiting for the past two years to have them removed, but whenever she was due to have the operation done then the state hospital would postpone the surgery. We kept trying to get her eyes seen to because every week her eyesight was getting weaker and progressively worse,” White said.
White said Kunonga’s death could have been prevented had the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) intervened when he tried numerous times to get them to put up fencing to help avoid deadly incidents like this from happening to people.
‘No intervention’ implemented
“I’m just so frustrated that they are taking so long to put up protective fencing. Phone calls, emails, and some in-person meetings with officials from Prasa all turned out to be fruitless, because nothing was done about the situation over the past few years.
Western Cape Prasa/Metrorail acting spokesperson Zino Mihi confirmed to News24 that an investigation is under way.
“The information that we received from our Protection Services department is that the woman who is alleged to be partially blind was crossing at the points by the train tracks when she was unfortunately struck by the train.
“The area in which she crossed is where people who avoid paying for train tickets (fare evaders) cross. Members of the public are not supposed to make use of that section of the track, as it is only meant for staff members or technicians,” Mihi added.
She said that security officials were on site when the incident occurred on Saturday morning and alerted Metrorail, SAPS and ambulance services.