Shock at 10 boys on back of bakkie

2013-11-07 00:00

EDUCATION and transport authorities have sent a stern warning on the transportation of children to school, after it was found that 10 boys, all crammed into the back of an open bakkie, were being transported from a Pietermaritzburg school.

On Tuesday, a concerned Witness reader sent a photograph of the boys in the bakkie, shortly after they were fetched from Carter High School. The photo shows the boys crammed into the back of an Opel bakkie, some sitting on the floor of the load bin and others on the sides.

From the picture it is determined that the pupils were picked up on the road near Grey’s Hospital.

Carter High School learning affairs officer Johan de Goede condemned the incident and said it was concerning to note that pupils were being picked up from the road.

“This is a great concern for us. When I saw the picture, I immediately tried to identify the students. Once they are identified, we will inform their parents of the situation in the hopes they will rectify it,” said De Goede.

He said it is difficult for the school to monitor the pupils outside of the school gates. The parents did not monitor their children after school hours or the transport they used and this was a challenge, he added.

“I have written to the Msunduzi traffic department asking them to assist us by monitoring and regulating that side of the road and the safety of our pupils.” De Goede said.

Graeme Sclar from the Automobile Association of South Africa (AA) said that it is illegal to transport people in an uncovered vehicle where they are not strapped in.

“This is a silly thing to be doing, especially if that bakkie is in an accident. Those passengers in the back of the bakkie would be killed or seriously injured. It’s stupid to have so many people in the back of a bakkie and drive over 30 km/h. This should not be done at all.

“I wonder if their parents are aware that they are being transported in that manner. If they are, that is poor parenting,” Sclar told The Witness.

The Road Traffic Inspectorate’s Zinhle Mngomezulu warned against pupils travelling in such a manner.

She said it was illegal for passengers to be transported in the bakkie bin — an area specifically meant for transporting goods.

“Passengers cannot be loaded into a goods compartment of a vehicle unless the compartment complies with specific height and width measurements as a safety precaution for the passengers,” said Mngomezulu.

Based on the photographs, the bakkie did not comply with these specifications.

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