Parliament has confirmed that it is now investigating whether or not a pupil died when a minibus taxi, carrying 22 pupils, crashed into a bollard in front of Parliament on Friday, August 20, after allegedly disregarding a red traffic light.
According to IOL, after the accident, the presiding officers of Parliament, led by the speaker of the National Assembly, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula as well as the chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, Amos Masondo extended their heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the pupil who tragically died because of the accident.
However, when the Cape Argus asked whether a pupil had died, the police, Western Cape Education Department (WCED), and Western Cape Health Department’s Emergency Medical Services said they did not record any deaths from the accident. Further, it was noted that the pupils injured were transported to a hospital, reports Press Reader.
Western Cape education MEC Debbie Schäfer said: “We have checked with the SA Police Service, emergency medical service, the hospitals — no death of a learner reported. It appears that the statement from parliament was incorrect.”
Schäfer said her department “was notified of a vehicle accident in the center of town involving 21 pupils. The vehicle crashed into the steel barricades outside the national parliament. The pupils are reportedly from 12 different schools, largely within the city bowl and Walmer Estate areas. Their ages range from 6 to 14.”
Meanwhile, she said 21 pupils and two adults were in the minibus taxi when it crashed. “This is clearly overloading.”
“The injuries of the learners range from serious to minor, with learners being sent to Red Cross Hospital, Somerset Hospital, Green Point Clinic, and District Six Clinic.
“Some of the principals were on the scene and have accompanied learners to the various hospitals and clinics. The parents of the learners are being notified. The Western Cape education department metro central specialized support team is on standby for assistance with requests for counseling and psychological support.”
According to Times Live, Schäfer was advised that the driver was allegedly unlicensed, the vehicle is not licensed and there is no operating license.
“The images of the accident are horrific. We have been in contact with our colleagues from the department of transport and public works regarding the investigation of these matters and what action can be taken,” she said.
“Our learners’ lives matter. Their safety matters. This kind of reckless and irresponsible behavior by the driver and/or owners of this vehicle must not go unpunished.”
Picture: Twitter/ @SISONKE_MD