File photo: ANA.

RUSTENBURG - A 47-year-old bus driver, who is facing culpable homicide charges, appeared in the Zeerust Magistrates' Court on Thursday, North West police said.

Captain Sam Tselanyane said Moseki Lucas Magwaba was arrested and charged with culpable homicide. The accused faces an additional charge of reckless and/or negligent driving.

The court heard that tragedy struck when the bus driver was transporting 49 schoolchildren to school. On the way he picked up a hitch-hiker who agreed to pay R20 for the journey.

However, when the hitch-hiker reached his destination, he ran out of the bus without paying anything. Aggrieved by the deceit, the driver alighted the bus and gave chase. 

Left unattended the bus rolled backwards into a ditch and landed on its side.  

Captain Tselanyane said some of the schoolchildren managed to jump off the bus before it crashed into the ditch. He said of the 49 learners, two learners two boys - 19-year-old Sedimogang Moreri and 14-year-old Omphile Moreri - were trapped in the bus. They were both certified dead at the scene.  

"40 learners sustained minor and serious injuries and were transported to hospital for medical attention while seven others sustained no injuries," said Captain Tselanyane.

The incident occurred at the intersection of Skuinsdrif and the N4 highway - between Swartruggens and Zeerust.

Magwaba's case was postponed to 21 May when he is expected to apply for bail at the Groot Marico Magistrate’s Court.

African News Agency (ANA)