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Pongola truck driver arrested after 19 pupils killed in horror crash

Sep 17, 2022

Neelam Rahim – neelam@radioislam.co.za

4 minute read
17 September 2022
15h30

Nineteen children, aged between five and 12 years old, are among the 21 people killed in a horror crash on the N12 between Pongola and Itshelejuba in northern Kwazulu-Natal.

A KZN Emergency Medical Services spokesperson, Robert McKenzie, said the bakkie had been transporting learners when it collided with a heavy vehicle.

Ten people died on the scene, while others were declared dead at an area hospital.

“The fatally injured include two adults and 19 children aged between about five and 12 years old that were primary school children, and they were being transported home after school,” said McKenzie.

According to a press release from the premier’s office, acting Premier Nomagugu Simelane, Transport, Community Safety, and Education MEC Mbali Fraser were leading government efforts to support the bereaved families and victims.

“We wish to assure the citizens and all affected families that the government is working with all stakeholders to ensure that the rationale behind this traumatising accident is investigated and concluded speedily.”

Simelane extended condolences to the victims’ families and wished the injured a speedy recovery.

KZN transport MEC Sipho Hlomuka is on Saturday due to visit the families of the deceased.

“MEC Hlomuka conveys his deepest condolences to all the affected families and is additionally due to visit the area so as that for himself he is able to inspect the scene and interact with the families that have lost their loved ones,” said department spokesperson Kwanele Ncalane.

Meanwhile, the trucker handed himself over to police on Saturday, MEC Hlomuka said.

Police launched a chase after he fled the accident scene on Friday.

The driver is expected to appear in the Pongola Magistrate Court on Monday.

“His arrest is vital in assisting the families to deal with the devastation of losing their relatives. We commend the police who have had to activate all systems to make sure that the driver is pressured to surrender himself,” said Hlomuka.

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