Port Elizabeth – Five school pupils died and 29 were injured when the bus they were travelling in plunged down an embankment in Lwandile Village near Mthatha on Tuesday morning, Eastern Cape police said.
Lt-Col Mzukisi Fatyela said that according to the bus driver the steering locked and the bus could not turn. The bus then lumbered off the embankment just after 7am.
“One boy and four girls died,” said Fatyela.
He said three died at the scene, one died en route to hospital, and one was found under the wreckage. They were aged between 17 and 20.
The 29 injured pupils were transported to nearby hospitals.
Eastern Cape transport, roads, and public works MEC Thandiswa Marawu called for stricter monitoring of the scholar transport services in the province.
In a statement Marawu, who visited the accident scene on Tuesday morning, sent her condolences to the families of the dead and wished the injured a speedy recovery.
“This accident has violated some of these children’s critical rights which are enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa including the right to life, right to access to education, right to access to safe public transport.
“I would like to register our disappointment as the provincial government to the public transport operators of this province for the continuous loss of children’s lives due to accidents involving scholar transport service providers,” Marawu said.
She said the department encouraged parents, communities, teachers, and all relevant role-players to monitor the scholar transport service throughout the province.
“We must all demand to have the actual control over who transports the learners, the type of vehicles, and whether the service was actually rendered in a safe manner,” Marawu said. – Sapa