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Counselling provided for families of pupils killed near Bronkhorstspruit

19 school children and the taxi driver were killed when their taxi collided with a truck on the Groblersdal Road.

Nineteen school children and the taxi driver were killed when their taxi collided with a truck on the Groblersdal Road near Bronkhorstspruit. Picture: Mia Lindeque/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi says counselling is being arranged for the families of those killed in Friday afternoon's massive taxi accident in Bronkhorstspruit.

Nineteen school children and the taxi driver were killed when their taxi collided with a truck on the Groblersdal Road.

The taxi then burst into flames shortly after impact.

Lesufi says it’s a sad day for the department.

“If there is a parent who has a child that goes to school around Bronkhorstspruit, we’d urge them to come to the scene. We’ve arranged for counsellors to provide them with all necessary information.”

At the same time, the road between Bronkhorstspruit and Verena remains closed to allow investigators space to comb the scene of the crash.

Lesufi has described the scene as horrific.

“It’s a very painful scene. I’ve never in my entire life, seen so many bodies in one place. The last time I saw so many bodies was at the Ellis park disaster. But the sad part here is that the majority of the bodies were burnt beyond recognition.”

He says the surviving pupils have been rushed to hospital.

“We can now confirm that 20 people died at the scene and the rest were hospitalised. Of the 20 that died, one is the driver and 19 are school learners.”

The MEC is also meeting the parents of the 19 school children who were killed in the crash.

Lesufi says the taxi had been overloaded and an urgent investigation is now needed.

“We are about to address them and we will take them through processes. We’ve got all the law enforcement agencies here as well and they will confirm the relevant information that parents want to get from us.”

Meanwhile, the Road Safety Action Campaign has called on the government to reduce the speed limit on the country’s roads following the crash.

The campaign’s Richard Benson said: “We know that speeding is involved in all major crashes and we also want to call on the government to increase the number of traffic police to prevent these types of crashes from occurring.”

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)

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