3 die in bus accident

Frank Maponya, PertuniaRatsatsi and Victor Hlungwani

Frank Maponya, PertuniaRatsatsi and Victor Hlungwani

The driver of the bus that was involved in a fatal accident in which three University of Limpopo students were killed has been arrested and will face three charges of culpable homicide.

Police spokesman Superintendent Moatshe Ngoepe said it appeared that the bus was not roadworthy.

He said the 37-year-old driver would also be charged with reckless driving and would appear in the Giyani magistrate's court today.

The bus was taking the students to the funeral of a student leader in Mhinga village near Malamulele on Saturday.

The victims died on impact after the bus plunged into an open field a few kilometres from Giyani at about 11am.

The front left tyre of the bus is said to have burst and the driver lost control of the vehicle.

It veered off the road and hit several trees before coming to a standstill against an ant hill.

Before that the bus had destroyed a fence used to prevent animals from wandering on to the public road. The bus also ramped across a donga.

The dead were identified as Doreen Nhlangwana, Mizah Mashele and Wisani Mabuza.

According to university spokesman Kgalema Mohuba, the university's records revealed that only two of the dead were University of Limpopo students.

"We can confirm that two of the dead were members of our student fraternity," Mohuba said.

"We have heard that the third victim was a student at the University of Venda but we don't know why she was on the bus."

Nhlangwana was a BCom student, while Mashele was doing her honours in developmental studies. Their ages were not know at the time of going to press.

Mabuza, 22, is said to have been visiting a friend and decided to take the trip with the students.

Mohuba said the university had not sanctioned the trip but would take responsibility because some of their students were on board.

Mohuba said the trip was organised by the ANC Youth League at the university after one of its leaders, Gin Maluleke, 26, died after being hit by a speeding car two weeks ago.

Sowetan was told that one of the dead was the daughter of a prominent Tzaneen medical doctor.

Yesterday a Sowetan team visited three of the survivors of the accident at the Nkhensani Hospital in Giyani and found them recovering.

One of the students said it was extremely worrying because the accident happened while they were in the middle of writing their examinations.

Those who were admitted to hospital were identified as Sam Sibiya, Bethuel Shiviti and Ashley Masia, all aged 21.

Sibiya, a first year BSc Extended Development Project student, fractured both his legs in the accident.

Shiviti is in his second year doing a BSc in Water and Sanitation, while Masia is in his third year of study towards earning a BAgric Management degree.

Masia told Sowetan that his mind went "blank" when the accident happened and that now it was all like a bad dream.