Taxi driver blamed for fatal train tragedy

MASS BURIAL: Mourners at the graveside during the burial of five children killed when a goods train collided with a taxi on a level crossing at Sandfontein village, outside Rustenburg in North West. Pic: VELI NHLAPO. 14/03/2010. © Sowetan.
MASS BURIAL: Mourners at the graveside during the burial of five children killed when a goods train collided with a taxi on a level crossing at Sandfontein village, outside Rustenburg in North West. Pic: VELI NHLAPO. 14/03/2010. © Sowetan.

SPEAKERS at the funeral service of five schoolchildren killed in an accident involving a goods train and a minibus taxi at Sandfontein village in North West appealed to mourners to ensure that the same tragedy did not happen again.

SPEAKERS at the funeral service of five schoolchildren killed in an accident involving a goods train and a minibus taxi at Sandfontein village in North West appealed to mourners to ensure that the same tragedy did not happen again.

The speakers, who included provincial MEC for education Johannes Tselapedi, local chiefs and members of the Moses Kotane local municipality, said had the taxi driver listened to one of the passengers to reverse the vehicle, no one would have been killed.

"We need to look into how best we should avoid such accidents from happening again ," Tselapedi said.

"I agree with the taxi owner who spoke earlier on that taxi people should be accountable. These children could have grown up and became doctors, engineers or spokespersons. "

Esther Moalusi, Lebohang Mopayi, Seadimo Mathuba, Portia Makakaba and Anna Sekoboane, all Grade 10 pupils at Raphurele High School, died when the minibus taxi in which they were travelling was hit by a goods train while crossing a railway line at Sandfontein.

The train was apparently travelling to Welgeval, another village in the Rustenburg district.

Sowetan reported last week that the taxi driver had allegedly refused to head a plea by a passenger who warned him of an advancing goods train as he crossed the rail line. The passenger had asked the driver to reverse, but he continued driving forward and the taxi was hit just in seconds.

Two other deceased passengers were to be buried in Eastern Cape and Maputo.

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