Mpumalanga police seek driver of a bakkie that killed 9 schoolchildren 56 years ago

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Mpumalanga police are searching for the driver of a car which killed nine children 56 years ago.
Mpumalanga police are searching for the driver of a car which killed nine children 56 years ago.
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  • The accident happened on 1 May 1965 and the case of culpable homicide and failure to stop after an accident was opened on Wednesday.  
  • The survivors of the accident are now pensioners left with terrible scars sustained during the collision.
  • Some of them spent more than two years at different hospitals receiving medical attention before they were discharged.

Mpumalanga police are searching for a driver of a bakkie that ploughed into a school choir killing nine pupils and injuring others 56 years ago.  

The hit and run incident happened on 1 May 1965.

The cases of culpable homicide and failure to stop after an accident were reported to the police on Wednesday, 9 June 2021.

The deceased were part of a 27 member choir of Nkotolane Primary School in Mmamethlake that had just won a singing competition. 

Survivors of the accident are now all pensioners left with terrible scars sustained during the accident, said police spokesperson Brigadier Leonard Hlathi. 

The victorious pupils, aged 18 and 19, were disembarking from a lorry in front of their school after it transported them from the choir competition in Pankop when a speeding bakkie ploughed into them. 

In a statement on Thursday, the police said the incident is being investigated in Mmametlhake near Kwamhlanga.

Hlathi said police are making a clarion call to members of the public with valuable information that can assist to solve the case, to come forward. 

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The bakkie that drove into the victims, before speeding off, had two unknown occupants, said Hlathi.

Some of the injured, who were taken to nearby hospitals, spent more than two years at the facilities receiving medical attention, said Hlathi. 

"Details on what exactly transpired regarding the incident as well as the whereabouts of the one who was driving the bakkie remains part of the probe," said Hlathi.  

However, Hlathi said the police are looking for a Mr Koos Engelbrecht whom they believe can assist in this probe.

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"Engelbrecht is said to have been previously resided around Nylstroom/Modimolle in Limpopo Province and anyone who knows his whereabouts, is urged to contact the Investigating Officer, Captain Solomon Moshime at 082 065 1355 or call the Crime Stop number at 08600 10111," said Hlathi.  

Alternatively, members of the public can send information via MYSAPSAPP. All received information will be treated as confidential.

The police said the cases were opened by Kiba Tabane together with families of the victims.

Tabane could not be immediately reached for comment on Friday. His response will be added once received. 

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