Speeding vehicle, used in unsanctioned school trip, was overloaded with 19 kids

Frank Maponya and Mckeed Kotlolo

Frank Maponya and Mckeed Kotlolo

The Limpopo department of roads and transport will institute a special investigation into the weekend taxi accident which claimed the lives of 12 school children.

The accident happened on the notorious Moloto Road near KwaMhlanga in Mpumalanga on Saturday afternoon.

All the passengers were pupils at the OR Tambo High School in Moutse, Limpopo.

They had undertaken a school trip to Gauteng and were on their way back home when the accident occurred.

However, spokesman for Limpopo department of education, Ndo Mangala, said the trip was not arranged or authorised by the school though some parents were allegedly duped into believing that it was.

The driver, Maxwell Makinta, allegedly lost control of the vehicle, a Toyota Quantum, which overturned and caught fire, killing the 12 victims instantly.

Seven other pupils and the driver were admitted to hospitals, some with serious injuries.

Preliminary investigations have revealed that the taxi was overloaded with 19 pupils.

One of the survivors told the police that the driver of the taxi was speeding and that it was overloaded. The survivor said some of the occupants had to sit on the laps of other pupils during the trip.

Flora Umotok, a doctor at Philadelphia Hospital, in Dennilton near Polokwane, said five patients were admitted there.

Three were treated and discharged and two others, including Makinta, with serious injuries, were transferred to Mankweng Hospital in Polokwane where the other three passengers were.

Umotok said the majority were trapped in the burning minibus and sustained fractures and burns.

Those who died at the scene and have been identified by their next of kin are Thembekile Mpisane, Ayanda Msibi, Xolani Khanyi, Thabisile Khumalo, Sifiso Nhlapo, Elias Mkhonza, Sello Mphepo, Sibusiso Shabangu, Themba Mkhonza and Roman Ntobeng.

The other two victims have not as yet been identified by their families.

l Captain Leonard Hlathi of Mpumalanga police said a Toyota Venture with six occupants allegedly crashed into a truck and that all its occupants were treated at hospital.

He said the truck driver, Themba Sindane, told police that he tried to apply brakes to avoid the accident but the vehicle jack-knifed.

Sindane escaped with visible injuries while his assistant was admitted to hospital.