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‘Some learners burnt beyond recognition’

A bakkie that was travelling at a high speed on Wednesday morning slammed into a scholar transport vehicle, killing 12 learners.

A source who was part of the team deployed to the scene said some of the children were burnt beyond recognition. “They will be identified by DNA testing.

“It was a disheartening sight. The authorities had to use the jaws of life to rescue some of the victims, and to get the bodies out.”

He said the bakkie struck the scholar transport from the back, causing it to topple over and then catch fire.

The wreckage of an overturned minibus taxi which was used as a private scholar transport vehicle looked completely burnt out as authorities assessed the scene.

Gauteng provincial police spokesperson Brigadier Brenda Muridili said the accident was between a Ford Ranger bakkie and a minibus carrying schoolchildren.

“At this stage, we can confirm that 13 people, including the minibus driver and 12 learners, died and seven learners were taken to medical facilities as well as the driver of the bakkie.

“The learners were being transported to Blyvooruitsig and Rocklands Primary Schools in Blyvooruitzicht.”

She said the police are investigating a case of culpable homicide.

Earlier on Wednesday, Matome Chiloane, Gauteng MEC for Education, Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation, said: “The department is deeply saddened to confirm that 11 learners from Rocklands Primary School and one learner from Laerskool Blyvooruitsig in Carletonville, along with their driver, lost their lives in a devastating accident.,”

Education activist Hendrick Makaneta called on law enforcement agencies to thoroughly investigate this incident to determine whether there was no foul play.

“It’s important to assess the state of the scholar transport through its records of service to determine whether everything was above board,” said Makaneta.

Meanwhile, the DA Gauteng spokesperson for education, Sergio Isa Dos Santos, urged Chiloane to promptly review the current scholar transport policy, which he said “has failed to adequately serve our learners in the province, leading to numerous fatal car accidents involving learners”.

Dos Santos said: “As part of our unwavering dedication to securing the future of Gauteng’s children through quality education, we will closely monitor the investigation of this incident and relentlessly pursue the establishment of a reviewed scholar transport policy that not only saves lives but also paves the way for a brighter future for our children.”

Pictured above: The bakkie that crashed into a school transport vehicle, and the burnt out vehicle in the background.

Source: Supplied