Fatal road accident tragically claims lives of five school children
This morning, five children on their way to school were killed in a fatal traffic accident in Mitchells Plain. Initial information suggests that the bakkie in which the learners were being transported hit a traffic light, resulting in the children being thrown off the back of the bakkie. This was not a Western Cape Education Department learner transport vehicle and the Western Cape Government is fully supporting the South African Police Services’ (SAPS) investigation underway.
Western Cape Minister of Mobility Ricardo Mackenzie said, “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. Cutting corners with any of these requirements and driving recklessly is a matter of life and death. My condolences and prayers go out to these parents who are now faced with the grief of losing a child, and those with children in the hospital.”
Minister Mackenzie continued, “Anyone wishing to report illegal or unsafe transport operators in the metro must please contact the City of Cape Town Traffic Department, for enforcement and possible impoundment if the vehicle is unsafe, overloaded or the driver is unqualified. I have recently attended two community meetings in Mitchells Plain to address the issues around learner transport and ensure that operators are properly registered and licensed.”
Western Cape Minister of Education David Maynier said, “Today is a sad day in this province. A tragic accident has taken the lives of five young learners. They are from Wespoort PS, Harvester PS, Ridgeville PS, Highlands PS, and Duneside PS. Two learners are receiving medical treatment, from Ridgeville PS and Lentegeur HS. Western Cape Education Department counselling support teams are supporting the affected schools.”
Minister Maynier further said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and the school communities. This is an unimaginable tragedy. Our thoughts are also with the learners currently being treated in hospital.”
Minister Mackenzie and Minister Maynier visited the scene of the accident to understand what happened and express their condolences to the parents of the children involved in the accident. They were also briefed by the SAPS’ Mitchells Plain Station Commander.
For information on operating licences for public transport, please contact the Provincial Regulatory Entity on 021 696 3213/14 or their Applications Helpline on 021 483 0270.