Horrific truck crash kills eight schoolboy-soccer players near Zeerust, North West
Eight school boys were killed when a truck they were travelling in overturned outside Zeerust on Saturday, 19 October 2019. The learners were coming from a soccer match in Driefontein village, when the driver of the truck lost control of the vehicle. The truck then crashed into a tree and overturned. Six of the boys were killed instantly in the crash and another two later passed away in hospital.
Freddy Sepeng is the spokesperson of the provincial Public Safety Department. “I can confirm that seven learners have died in that accident, you will remember that yesterday (Saturday) they were only six, and this morning the seventh one died. We say a speedy recovery to those who are still at the hospital and still recovering at the hospital.”
The provincial Education Department spokesperson Elias Malindi, says the MEC Mmaphefo Matsemela, visited the survivors of the crash in hospital as well as the families of the deceased on Sunday. “We are very much devastated about this incident especially at the most critical time of writing final examinations . So we are very much heartbroken by this incident and the MEC will be visiting the families today and will be visiting the schools and also to check those who are in hospital.”
Pupils were treated for injuries including broken legs in Zeerust and Bophelong hospitals. Malindi 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, 24 October 2019.