A 10-year-old pupil from Lusikisiki Village Junior Secondary School in the Eastern Cape died from severe head injuries sustained when a branch from a gum tree fell on him shortly after lunchtime on Monday.
Education MEC Fundile Gade has expressed shock at the tragedy and conveyed his department's condolences to the family of Asenathi Gani.
Eastern Cape Education Department spokesperson Malibongwe Mtima confirmed that the incident occured after the lunch break. According to Mtima, Gani was amongst three Grade 6 pupils who were involved in the incident.
"Unfortunately, the pupil (Gani) had to be airlifted from St Elizabeth's Hospital to Mthatha where he died due to the seriousness of the head injuries," Mtima said.
He identified the other pupils involved in the incident as 12-year-old Lindokuhle Dweba and 11-year-old Alindwe Nqubula.
"Both Dweba and Nqubula were admitted to, treated and later discharged by St Elizabeth's Hospital," he said.
"Lindokuhle Dweba sustained a serious injury to a middle finger and the finger was subsequently amputated. Alindwe Nqubula suffered a left shoulder injury."
Mtima said the department had arranged for trauma counselling to be offered to pupils and staff at the school.
"As part of the holistic government intervention, the Department Social Development sent 10 social workers to conduct counseling to the rest of the pupils and teachers. The move is meant to address the traumatic experience suffered by them after witnessing this incident".
Gade wished the surviving two pupils a speedy recovery .