Overloaded scholar transport crashes
Share this article:
Eleven pupils were seriously injured when a minibus taxi transporting 22 schoolchildren crashed into bollards in front of Parliament, on Plein Street, yesterday morning.
The other 11 passengers suffered slight injuries, according to officials.
City of Cape Town traffic services spokesperson Richard Coleman said the incident happened shortly after 7am.
The pupils are reportedly from 12 different schools, largely within the city bowl and Walmer Estate areas, and their ages range from 6 to 14.
Belinda Maunze, a parent of an 11-year-old girl from Walmer Estate Primary, said she received a call and upon arriving on scene, saw her child Blessing already in an ambulance.
“She was injured on her leg and the other children had broken legs. My child suffered slight injuries compared to others,” she said.
The scholar transport is not contracted by the Western Cape Education Department and was hired by parents to transport children.
Principals and teachers of the schools also joined parents at the scene.
Ebrahim White, a Walmer Estate Primary teacher, said three of their pupils were among those injured.
“We were called by a principal from another school informing us about what happened. Two of our learners sustained a hand injury while the other one sustained a broken leg in the process.
“We do not know what caused the accident but from what I heard the driver jumped a red robot,” said White.
MEC Debbie Schäfer said there were reports that the scholar transport had no operating license, and the driver and vehicle were unlicensed.
“I am deeply distressed by an incident that happened outside Parliament this morning involving learners on their way to school. 21 learners and 2 adults were in the minibus taxi when it crashed. This is clearly overloading.
“The injuries of the learners range from serious to minor, with learners being sent to Red Cross Hospital. Somerset Hospital, Green Point Clinic and District Six clinic,” said Schäfer.
Police spokesperson Colonel Andrè Traut said Cape Town Central police were investigating a case of reckless and/or negligent driving.
Parliamentary presiding officers, National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and National Council of Provinces chairperson Amos Masondo expressed shock and sadness at this tragedy and called for a swift investigation into the accident.
“Our thoughts and prayers are also with the injured pupils for their speedy recovery. We call upon the traffic authorities to investigate the circumstances of the accident and leave no stone unturned to ensure the safety of our children,” they said.