Schoolchildren killed in crash

2008-02-02 00:00

Concerns about traffic law enforcement have again been raised after a bakkie loaded with 26 school children was hit by a car driven by a drunk yesterday morning, resulting in the deaths of two children.

The accident happened in Dennis Shepstone Drive near Sweetwaters yesterday morning, when a Toyota Corolla hit the Hyundai bakkie, which had stopped to pick up a child.

One child travelling in the bakkie and another from the car were killed.

The Corolla driver was allegedly drunk, and was arrested and charged with drunk and reckless driving and culpable homicide.

Transport Department officials said it is illegal to transport unseated children in the back of a bakkie, but they may be transported if they are properly seated and the driver has a transport permit.

Ayanda Buthelezi (9), who attended Alston Primary, was one of the dead, while the name of the other child, aged four, was not released yesterday.

Two adults who were in the bakkie and 24 children were taken to hospital.

Education MEC Ina Cronjé and Education head Dr Cassius Lubisi have sent their condolences to Ayanda’s family.

Education spokeswoman Christi Naudé said they also wished the injured pupils, who attend Forest Hill Primary, Berg Street Primary, Alston Primary and Open Gate School, a speedy recovery.

Forest Hill principal Basil Manuel, eight of whose pupils were injured, said the overloading of bakkies is a major concern.

But he said the fact that more than 20 children were in the bakkie was only part of the proble, and that drunk driving played a part in yesterday’s crash.

Manuel appealed to parents to ensure that the transport for their children is safe.

“The policing of the transport that conveys these children up and down to school needs to be greater,” he said.

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