Grieving families to hold memorial for eight pupils killed in truck crash
A joint memorial service will be held at Rietpan Village in North West after eight school pupils perished in a gruesome crash when a truck transporting them ploughed into a tree.
The pupils were travelling from Borakalalo village to Rietpan village after a school sports tournament at the weekend.
The North West education department on Tuesday said the death toll had risen from seven to eight pupils.
The latest victim died in hospital. Pupils were treated for injuries including broken legs in Zeerust and Bophelong hospitals.
Department spokesperson Elias Malindi expressed shock over the tragedy.
He said the deceased pupils had attended Ratsela Middle School, Mmajane Secondary School and Letlhakane Primary School in Rietpan, near Zeerust.
"The pupils were part of the local teams from the village and the games were arranged by their local coaches. Neither the school nor the department was responsible for the games. They went to play soccer at Borakalalo village and on their way back, they were involved in a horrible accident at an intersection between Lobatla and Driefontein," said Malindi.
The pupils were between 11 and 15-years-old and enrolled in grades 5 to 9.
North West education MEC Mmaphefo Matsemela visited the grieving families.
"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 ... I further wish a speedy recovery to all the injured learners," said Matsemela.
She said counselling would be provided for the affected families and pupils.
The families agreed to hold a joint memorial service at Letlhakane Primary School at Rietpan on Thursday morning.