Gas tanker tragedy: Boksburg mom bids final farewell to her four children
The funeral service for four Boksburg children who died in the Christmas Eve blast was held on Thursday.
It was attended by family, friends and members if the community as well as various motorcycle clubs.
The children’s mother Rosetta Brits tried to comfort her three other children, who cried through the service.
The roar of a motorcade of riders from various chapters announced the start of the emotionally charged funeral of four children who died on Christmas Eve after a gas tanker exploded in a residential area in Boksburg.
The Thrive Church held the service on Thursday for Jamel Eales, 16, and Sebastiaan, 14, Adrian, 12, and 10-year-old Gerrie Brits.
Their mother, Rosetta Brits, had buried her husband, Johannes, just five months ago.
Her pain was palpable as she tried to comfort her other three children, who sobbed as tributes and messages were given by family, friends and many other sympathisers.
The funeral began with a motorcade led by the local chapter of the Crusaders MC. Riders also carried the coffins into the packed church.
Chapter shepherd Dannie Kieser broke down as he said the message he wanted to give the congregation was one of love.
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“Love one another like they are never coming back.”
Ekurhuleni Mayor Tania Campbell was absent from the private service, but she sent a proxy with a message from the city.
“[We want you to know] that we share your grief, and we are experiencing your pain, and your loss is our loss.”
The woman standing in place of the mayor broke down as she read the message that the tragedy brought to mind “how precious life is and how quickly it can be taken away from us”.
Rosetta’s tribute of love to her children was conveyed by a social worker assigned to the family.
“We all love you and know that you are in a better place.”
BOKSBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – JANUARY 03: Aftermath of
The aftermath of a gas explosion at a low-lying bridge in Boksburg, when dozens of people died.
Gallo Images/OJ Koloti
Frans Eales, Jamel’s father, thanked the community for their help and kindness and said he would miss his daughter and her brothers.
Like many other bystanders, the siblings were drawn to the tanker accident scene after it had ignited.
It is understood that they were walking home when the tanker exploded.
Jamel’s boyfriend, Ian de Langa, 25, was with the siblings at the time.
Jamel, De Langa and Gerrie died instantly. Sebastiaan was airlifted to Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital in Johannesburg but died just after he arrived.
Adrian died later that evening at Far East Hospital.
On Wednesday, Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi announced that the death toll had risen to 37 people. He said body parts were still being found.
Fifty victims were taken from the scene for treatment in various hospitals in Ekurhuleni and Johannesburg.
Among the dead are 12 healthcare workers who were at the OR Tambo Memorial Hospital, which was in the blast zone on the day.
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