A memorial service for the 16-year-old who died in a bus crash that was ferrying Michaelhouse schoolboys to a soccer tournament will be held at the school on Friday.
According to Facebook posts on an unofficial page for old and current staff of financial services giant Liberty, Themba was the youngest son of former chief executive Thabo Dloti. Themba died when the tyre of the bus he and 48 other pupils and staff were travelling in, burst on the N3 between Hilton and Pietermaritzburg. The injured were taken to hospital.
On Wednesday in Johannesburg, the Michaelhouse community gathered to pray for Themba, his family and the injured while a service was also held at the Midlands school’s chapel.
“It was a muted and sombre affair with the exception of the school hymn which, while deeply emotional, threatened to lift the roof off of our chapel,” read a statement from the school.
After the service, the pupils went to tutor groups where they were given the opportunity to talk about the crash and to ask questions.
“We will also be counselling both the victims of the accident and others who are in need, during the course of the day and over the next few weeks.”
Most of the injured pupils have been discharged from hospital, but 13 boys and one staff member remained in hospital.
The school discounted “unfounded rumours” regarding the cause of the crash, maintaining that it was caused by a tyre blow-out.
The bus company, Maharaj’s Coaches, also declined to comment, saying its focus was on the well-being of the injured.
In a statement released by the company, it stated that this was the first incident of its kind during its “long association with various colleges in the area”
“In so far as the vehicle and driver involved in the accident is concerned, we can give you, the public, the assurance that the vehicle was well maintained and the driver highly experienced.
“We will co-operate fully with the traffic authorities who may wish to conduct investigations into the probable cause of the accident.”
Department of Transport spokesperson Kwanele Ncalane said a team from the collision unit has been sent to probe the crash.
“We have noted the accident with great sadness. MEC (Mxolisi) Kaunda, on behalf of the government, sends his deepest condolences to the school and the affected families.
“We also wish a speedy recovery to all those learners who are hospitalised,” said Ncalane.