Burial for taxi victims

Frank Maponya

Frank Maponya

There will be profound sorrow and shared grief when seven of the 12 learners who died after last weekend's taxi accident are buried.

Sowetan has established that the seven lived in one street in Moutse, outside Groblersdal.

The learners, all from the OR Tambo High School in Moutse, were on their way home from an apparently unauthorised trip to Gauteng on Saturday afternoon.

They perished when the minibus taxi in which they were travelling overturned and burst into flames on the notorious Moloto Road near KwaMhlanga, Mpumalanga. The driver of the taxi, Maxwell Makinta, later died at the Mankweng Hospital.

The seven lived in Moss Tavern Street at Tambo village in Moutse. They are Sifiso Cyril Nhlapo, Duduzile Hlophe, Roman Gawaata Ntobeng, Sello Mphego, Elias Bongane Mkhonza, Themba Solomon Mkhonza and Sibusiso Masemola.

The other victims' names are Thabisile Gladys Khumalo, Tembi Mpisane, Phindile Msibi, Selani Khanyi and Mduduzi Mlangeni, who lived in the same village. They, together with Makinta, will be buried in a mass funeral to take place on Sunday at the Elandsdoorn cemetery in Tambo village.

The pupils had allegedly undertaken an unauthorised trip to The Fountains in Pretoria. This after the school principal had allegedly authorised a trip only for matriculants at the school to the same place for a matric dance.

The accident victims, who were enrolled in lower grades, had allegedly duped their parents into believing the trip was sanctioned by the school.

Greater Sekhukhune District Municipality spokesman Selby Makgotho said about 15 social workers had been dispatched to assist families who lost their loved ones to deal with the trauma for the whole week. He said pupils at the school were also receiving counselling.

"The municipality has offered to assist with funeral costs, groceries, tents and chairs," said Makgotho.

Meanwhile, the South African Democratic Teachers' Union (Sadtu) in Limpopo yesterday sent a message of condolence to the families of the dead pupils.