Schools picket following learner’s death

2018-03-20 06:01
Maitland learners during the picketing.

Maitland learners during the picketing.

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Learners and teachers from schools situated on Royal Road, Maitland took to the streets to plead with motorists to be vigilant. The two-day picketing started on Thursday. The learners stuck it out for an hour each day before their classes started.

The picketing was organised by the principals of two of the affected schools, led by Anwar Allie of Koeberg Primary School. It included teachers and learners from Koeberg Primary and Maitland High schools.

Their action followed the death of Bianca Ndolae (16) from Maitland High. She died after being hit by a truck on Wednesday 14 March. The truck allegedly drove into her at the corner of Royal and Station roads. Police are investigating a case of a culpable homicide following the death.

Maitland police spokesperson, Captain Louise Solomons, says no arrest has been made.

“The suspect in this case is known and we are investigating the circumstances around the incident. He (the driver) claims that he did not see the deceased when he was turning from Station Road into Royal Road near the school. According to our statements, the visibility was obstructed by another truck that was also on the road. The driver says he only realised he hit ‘something’ when people started shouting at him.”

According to school principal Leon Kapp, Bianca was walking with her friends after school when the incident happened.

“Her friends said she was about to cross the road, then the next thing they remember is a truck crushing her. When we arrived at the scene she was lying there and she passed on while waiting for an emergency vehicle. We are devastated by this because we have begged the City of Cape Town to improve the safety of this road for the sake of our learners. We lost a learner a few years ago in a similar incident. This breaks my heart.”

Anwar Allie of Koeberg Primary says the incident has left them hopeless and, by letting teachers stand on the side of the road, they are trying to appeal to motorists to be vigilant and understand their pain.

Richard Coleman, spokesperson for Traffic Services, says the department will have their school education section as well as the enforcement officers in the area to investigate the reports of reckless driving. His department was not aware of the allegations before this incident happened.

Education department spokesperson Millicent Merton says: “Bianca’s death is utterly tragic. Our thoughts are with Bianca’s family and friends at this difficult time. Traffic calming measures would be a great help to ensure learners’ safety when crossing roads in the area.”

Merton says district officials and the community were at the school to provide counselling­.

This is the second incident involving a local learner. The previous incident, late last month, involved a Koeberg Primary School learner. People’s Post recently published an article in which Koeberg Primary’s teachers pleaded for solutions to the safety risk facing learners (“Kids ‘at risk’ on road”, 6 March).

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