Eight pupils injured in taxi crash

EIGHT pupils were injured, three seriously, when a taxi that was taking them to school collided with a bakkie in KwaZulu-Natal yesterday.

EIGHT pupils were injured, three seriously, when a taxi that was taking them to school collided with a bakkie in KwaZulu-Natal yesterday.

The incident happened at the Boom and Boshoff street intersection in Pietermaritzburg.

This has prompted teacher unions to demand that the provincial department of education roll out safe transport for schools.

Netcare 911 spokesperson Jeff Wicks said the two vehicles collided and came to rest in the middle of the road.

"The frontal impact caused the unrestrained children to be propelled forward and to hit the seats in front of them.

"They were treated and stabilised at the scene before being taken to the Netcare St Anne's and Northdale Hospital for further definitive medical care," he said.

This was the second shocking taxi incident involving school children. Last week a taxi driver was arrested when caught driving an overloaded vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.

He was found to be five times over the limit, while 49 pupils were crammed inside the taxi together with a conductor.

Teacher unions said last year the education department promised to subsidise safe buses at a number of schools to avoid unnecessary deaths caused by bakkies and taxis transporting pupils. But school children in the province have continued to be victims of reckless taxi drivers.

National Teachers Union spokesperson Allen Thompson said proper transport for the pupils was expected this year, especially in rural areas.

"The transport initiative was introduced by the former education MEC Ina Cronjé, who indicated that the department had a budget.

"But we do not know what happened to that money," he said.

Thompson said they would engage Premier Zweli Mkhize and provincial education MEC Senzo Mchunu to get clarity on the delay.

The department was unavailable for comment.

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