Eight pupils killed in truck accident to be remembered at memorial service

2019-10-23 18:43
A memorial service has been planned for the young soccer players who died in the crash in the North West over the weekend. (iStock)

A memorial service has been planned for the young soccer players who died in the crash in the North West over the weekend. (iStock)

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A joint memorial service for eight North West pupils, who died when a truck they were travelling in lost control, will be held on Thursday.

Senior government officials are expected to attend.

The eight boys, aged between 11 and 15, were travelling with 21 other pupils when the driver of the truck hit a tree causing the vehicle to overturn. 

The group was returning home from a soccer tournament in Borakalalo village and heading to their homes in Rietpan village when the crash happened at the Lobatla and Driefontein intersection in Lehurutshe, Zeerust, on Saturday afternoon.

Six of the teenagers died on the scene and two others died in hospital.

The truck driver, 26, has since been arrested and is facing charges of culpable homicide, reckless and or negligent driving as well as driving without a driver's licence. 

The police earlier said the he only had a learner driver's licence. 

North West Department of Education spokesperson Elias Malindi said seven of the boys were in grades 5 to 9 at Ratsela Middle and Letlhakane Primary schools in Rietpan village. One teenager attended Mmajane Secondary School in Driefontein village. 

"The pupils were part of a local soccer team from Rietpan village and their games were arranged by local coaches. Neither the school nor the department were responsible for those games," said Malindi.

He said 20 more pupils who sustained various injuries were still being treated at Zeerust and Bophelong hospitals.

North West Education MEC Mmaphefo Matsemela has visited the bereaved families and hospitalised pupils.

"On behalf of the department, we are very much shocked and devastated by the accident. This accident happened at a very crucial time wherein learners were preparing to write their final examinations.

"I wish to convey our heartfelt condolences to the families who have lost children in this horrible accident. I further wish a speedy recovery to all the injured learners."

Matsemela has promised the department would offer counselling to all pupils and teachers of the affected schools.

Details of the funerals will be announced soon.

Read more on:    mahikeng  |  accidents
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