Three pupils died when a concrete slab collapsed at Driehoek High School in Vanderbijlpark on Friday morning. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency(ANA)

Durban - President Cyril Ramaphosa said via a statement on Friday night that he was "saddened" by the "Driehoek High School tragedy", which took place earlier in the day in Vanderbijlpark. 

Two boys and one girl died after a concrete slab collapsed on pupils just after 8am; they were leaving assembly and on their way to class.  

Twenty-three other pupils were injured and were rushed to hospital. In the statement, Ramaphosa said he added his "heartfelt condolences" to condolences offered by other South Africans. 

“I offer my deepest sympathy to the families and friends of the deceased learners and I equally extend my condolences to the staff and entire school community of Driehoek High School,” said Ramaphosa.

He wished the injured a speedy recovery.

“This is a tragedy that touches all South Africans. We have lost young people who were engaged in the most important endeavour of their young lives – their education.”

Ramaphosa said he welcomed the psychosocial support that government was extending to the families of the deceased, injured pupils and staff. 

“It is my hope that the people of our country and of the Vaal will at this time come together as one to support the Driehoek school community in this hour of mourning, while government, working with the school community, embarks on a process to establish the cause of this tragedy and to ensure that we can, at an appropriate time and under appropriate conditions, resume learning and teaching,” said Ramaphosa. 

African News Agency/ANA