Family of cop killed in crash ‘celebrate and weep’
Tears of joy and sorrow flow as family hold a newborn while mourning the death of her mother
It was a bittersweet Mother’s Day for an Mpumalanga family as they held a newborn while mourning the death of her mother.
Constable Jane Thandi Ntuli, 36, died in the early hours of Sunday after being in involved in an accident. Just hours before, doctors managed to deliver the baby by ceasarean section because the severely injured Ntuli was unable to give birth normally.
She was based at the Delmas police station.
Now it is up to her family to raise little Ofentse, whose name means “one who has conquered”.
Ntuli’s death has left her family with mixed emotions, wiping both tears of joy and sadness as they prepare for the funeral.
“We lost Thandi, but her baby is a remarkable reminder of who she was to us. We have mixed feelings, we are celebrating and on the other side we are weeping. It’s a great loss but God’s will always prevail, so we are also happy about the gift of life,” said Maria Mahlangu, Ntuli’s aunt.
“She used to tell me that she will not have a child until she had a stable job and a decent life. This was her first born, so I hope she is happy wherever she is. She waited all these years to have a baby and here we are.”
Ntuli was driving home from work on Saturday evening on the R42 Bronkhorstspruit road “when an unknown vehicle struck hers at the back after the driver apparently skipped a stop sign”, Mpumalanga police spokesperson Mtsholi Bhembe said.
She had to be airlifted to hospital because of the extent of her injuries.
A case of culpable homicide is being investigated.
“A 30 -year-old man handed himself over on Sunday, but he was not arrested as the court advised that more evidence be collected first,” Bhembe said.
As a premature baby, Ofentse is still under the care of Netcare Clinton Hospital.
“We check up on her every day and she is doing well,” Mahlangu said.
“The care is great, we are relieved that she made it. We wish Thandi lived so she could experience being a mother for the first time, but we will not gain anything from questioning God.
“Her mother is trying very hard to come to terms with it, but she is not okay.”
She remembers Thandi as a hardworking and reserved person. “I lived with her when she was in Grade 10 to Grade 12. Not once did I have to reprimand her about being out on the streets; she kept to herself. The family is saddened and heartbroken.
“It’s unacceptable that people still drive irresponsibly on the roads. It hurts that we have to pay for recklessness.”
The family, her colleagues and loved ones are mourning.
Ofentse’s father, Lesedi Rabalao, 29, said he was heartbroken as he was ready to gift the Ntulis with lobola at the beginning of June.
Rabalao had already arranged his uncles and set a date for the ceremony. “I don’t know what’s happening. I am just grateful that Fentse is stable and well.
“The last time I saw my love was on Saturday morning after I slept over at her place. We were both leaving for work. Later on when I called to check up on her ... the phone was picked up by a relative who told me she was admitted.”
He cannot accept that Ntuli did not signal he would be seeing her for the last time. “It was a huge shock for me. I’m hurting, I don’t wanna lie.”
Initially, the two families were meant to meet on May 4, but the date collided with a tombstone unveiling ceremony for Rabalao’s mother.
Rabalao’s family will be arriving on Thursday ahead of the funeral.