LIFT TRAGEDY : FAMILIES BLAME NRZ

THE family of the woman who was crushed to death together with a technician when an elevator crash-landed on them at the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) headquarters in Bulawayo, has blamed the parastatal for her death.



NRZ has suspended the use of the lifts at Parkade Centre following the death of the two on Friday.

The Chronicle visited the building, owned by the NRZ Pension Fund along 9th Avenue yesterday and read a notice informing the public to use the stairs as elevators were out of order.

Businesses renting the offices on the 23 floors of the tallest building in Bulawayo said they were losing business as clients were not prepared to use the stairs.

Elizabeth Mlangeni’s family said her death and that of the elevator technician, Kevin Musina, could have been avoided if the company prioritised the safety of workers.

Mlangeni and Musina were found dead at the company’s basement by a technician who was making a follow up on the latter who had not returned to work following a call by NRZ staff over a faulty lift.

Mlangeni’s brother Medicine Mhango said the parastatal put workers’ lives at risk by continually allowing its employees to ride on faulty lifts.
“I spoke to the NRZ’s general manager today in the afternoon. He said the company has had problems with its lifts for years,” said Mhango.

“What’s the most prized asset in a company? To me it’s the company’s workers. The lifts were dangerous to employees, why let the employees ride them?”

He said instead of compromising the safety of its workers, the NRZ should have shifted working hours to give workers time to climb the stairs and avoid using the lifts.
Mhango said his sister’s death was difficult to accept.

“It has left many of us shocked. She was a devout Christian and blameless. That’s why it’s difficult to accept and understand her passing,” said Mhango.

Mlangeni’s son Christpean, a student at the University of Zimbabwe, said he was devastated by his mother’s death.

He said he got worried when he called her and her phone kept ringing. It was uncharacteristic of his mother to ignore his calls, he said.
The family said they were still waiting for the postmortem report and finalising on burial arrangements.

Mlangeni is survived by a husband and two children who are both at university.
Musina’s father, Stephen Musina, said he had lost a peace-loving son who respected his community.

NRZ public relations manager, Fanuel Masikati, said he was not in a position to comment on the matter as he had just returned to the country after attending a funeral in South Africa.
“You can contact the acting general manager Mukwanda (Lewis) or the board chairman Mabena (Alvord),” said Masikati. chronicle

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