Over-the-top safety this time around

2014-05-24 00:00

NO children under the age of 10 will be allowed to enter either the fun fair zone or the cattle zone at the Royal Show without proper adult supervision.

The measures have been put in place by the Royal Agricultural Society (RAS), to prevent any repeat of the kind of incident that led to the tragic death of five-year-old Simphiwe Mbense at last year’s show.

Simphiwe, one of 45 Kwanoshezi Primary School pupils enjoying a visit to the showgrounds in Pietermaritzburg, was killed on May 30 when he stood up in his car on the Music Box ride and was then knocked down by another car. It is believed that the little boy became scared and tried to get off the ride.

Terry Strachan, chief executive officer of the RAS, said they took safety seriously.

The fairground has been fenced off and security officers have been placed at the entrances to prevent children under the age of 10 from entering the area, unless they are accompanied by an adult.

The show has also asked that a teacher is assigned for every six children in a school group visiting the showgrounds.

“We are trying to restrict groups of youngsters coming to the show without adult supervision,” Strachan said.

“We have written to the Department of Education three times since January to try and get the department’s help with this … We wrote to the department in January, March and then two weeks before the show, but no one has come back to us.”

Freddie Bovill, co-ordinator of the fun fair, said that the Music Box ride would not be returning to the Royal, and that all the rides on offer this year had been thoroughly checked and certified safe to use.

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