KwaZulu-Natal MEC for education Senzo Mchunu began his first day in the office by visiting a bereaved community to offer his condolences.
Mchunu's visit to the community surrounding Hlophenkulu Primary School in Nongoma follows the death of three pupils and 17 others injured while crossing a notorious road on their way to school over the past three years.
In the most recent incident last Wednesday, an eight-year-old girl was killed on the R618 main road when she was knocked down by a bakkie while she was crossing the road on her way to school.
Yenzokuhle Mbhamali, a Grade 3 pupil, is the third person from the school to be killed on the same road since 2007.
With no alternative road, pupils are forced to use the busy main road to go to school .
This is not the only school in the province where pupils have been killed in road accidents on their way to school.
Pupils at Nyezane Primary School in Gingindlovu, in the north of the province, are also affected.
Over the years the school has lost several pupils in accidents on a busy road near the school.
In almost all the accidents on the road near the school the victims were killed on the spot.
Mchunu said the accidents had affected the schools.
He said the death of a pupil was also a traumatic experience for classmates and affected teaching and learning.
"The department is deeply touched by this. We are here to offer our condolences, little Yenzokuhle was part of our family too," Mchunu said.
He said he would meet the MEC for transport Bheki Cele to discuss what could be done to ensure the safety of pupils.