Rescue workers at the scene at Hoërskool Driehoek in Vanderbijl Park after three pupils died when a walkway collapsed. Picture: Supplied

Johannesburg - Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga on Friday said she learned with immense sadness of the passing of three learners at the Hoërskool Driehoek in Vanderbijlpark, and sent her deepest condolences to parents, school and the community. 

“One cannot begin to imagine the trauma these parents are going through, especially those who are unable to identify their children due to the severity of their injuries. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this incredibly difficult time. I know words seem shallow at a time like this, however my condolences are truly sincere," she said in a statement.

"I have been in contact with the [Gauteng member of the executive council] MEC Panyaza Lesufi -- he has been on the scene dealing with these matters hands on. I have been given assurances by the MEC that the department will do everything in its capacity to assist grieving parents as well as those who have suffered injuries in getting through this tragedy," said Motshekga.

She said the 23 injured learners were being treated at various hospitals and the Minister wishes them a speedy recovery with the understanding that some were critically injured. 

“I am confident that these learners are getting the best care available and am hopeful that they will make a full recovery, "said Motshekga.

Motshekga said this tragic accident has traumatised the entire school community, but none more so than the parents who said goodbye to their children this morning, not realising that it would be their last. 

"The province have deployed psycho-social support to assist those learners who were grieving with trauma counselling after this tragic incident," said Motshekga. 

African News Agency (ANA)