Accident involving unregistered scholar transport claims five lives

Five pupils were killed and two others sustained injuries when a bakkie transporting them to school was involved in an accident in Mitchells Plain, Cape Town on Tuesday morning.

The pupils, aged seven to 11, died on AZ Berman Drive after they were thrown off the back of the bakkie when it hit the robot. A six-year-old and 15-year were injured and are receiving treatment in the hospital.

Western Cape police spokesperson Sergeant Wesley Twigg said a 55-year-old driver of the bakkie has been arrested and will appear in the Mitchells Plain magistrate’s court once he has been charged.

“Mitchells Plain police registered a culpable homicide case for investigation following a fatal crash which claimed the lives of five children in AZ Berman Drive, Mitchells Plain this morning. The circumstances surrounding the incident are under investigation,” said Twigg.

Western Cape education MEC David Maynier said the deceased pupils were from Wespoort, Harvester, Ridgeville, Highlands and Duneside primary schools.

“Two learners are receiving medical treatment from Ridgeville Primary School and Lentegeur High School,” he said.

Transport MEC Ricardo Mackenzie said information suggests that the bakkie in which the pupils were being transported hit a traffic light, resulting in the children being thrown off the back of the vehicle.

“This was not a Western Cape education department learner transport vehicle and the Western Cape government is fully supporting the South African Police Service investigation which is under way,” said Mackenzie.

“I am outraged by this accident involving a vehicle transporting learners illegally, resulting in these tragic and avoidable deaths.

“How many more children must we lose on our roads before the transportation of these precious lives is taken seriously by those driving the vehicles?

“Anyone who is transporting passengers – especially children whose bodies are more vulnerable to injury – has the weighty responsibility to keep them safe.

“Vehicles must be roadworthy; drivers must be qualified and an operating licence is required to transport passengers.”

He added: “Cutting corners with any of these requirements and driving recklessly is a matter of life and death. My condolences and prayers go out to the parents who are now faced with the grief of losing a child, and those with children in the hospital.”

Mackenzie said he recently attended community meetings in Mitchells Plain to talk about issues around scholar transport and to ensure that operators are properly registered and licensed.

He also called on anyone with any information about the accident to contact Crime Stop on 08600 10111.


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