'Conman' caught cashing in on Hoërskool Driehoek tragedy

The community and classmates of the learners who died have continued to place flowers and messages in remembrance at Hoërskool Driehoek.
The community and classmates of the learners who died have continued to place flowers and messages in remembrance at Hoërskool Driehoek.
Image: Iavan Pijoos

A suspected conman who asked for money‚ saying his “brother” had perished in the Hoërskool Driehoek tragedy‚ has been exposed.

CEO of the Golden Triangle Chamber of Commerce‚ Klippies Kritzinger‚ told SowetanLIVE on Tuesday that the man had claimed to be "George Nagel"‚ the older brother of Marnus Nagel.

Marnus died on Saturday as a result of serious injuries. He was the fourth pupil to die following the tragedy.

Kritzinger said the man had collected money from several people.

“He stood at the shopping centre here close to the school and he said he was the brother of Marnus and he needs money to go to Johannesburg.

“Even one of the teachers was conned into giving him money. He had a box and there was some notes in that box‚ so he got a lot of money by capitalising on the sympathy of everyone‚” said Kritzinger.

Police spokesperson Sergeant Gertrude Makhale said the man was not arrested‚ but issued with a warning.

“Vanderbijlpark SAPS was informed about this man but the complainant didn't open a case as she alleged that the matter was sorted out by her and the family. Although the complainant didn't open a case the suspect was warned by the police‚” she said.

The other deceased pupils have been identified as Marli Curry‚ Jandre Steyn and Rayden Olckers.

About 20 pupils received medical attention for multiple injuries sustained in the disaster.

On Tuesday morning‚ flowers‚ cards and candles lay outside the gates at the school.

Messages of support were written on school shirts. Some learners stared at photographs of the classmates who had lost their lives - the hurt in their eyes evident.

Kritzinger said the chamber had decided to help after the tragedy and had started a crowdfunding campaign and had raised more than R100‚000. An international crowdfunding campaign had raised more than R22‚000.

“The money is rolling in and it’s amazing. Everyone is giving support and that is amazing. We cannot change what happened‚ but we can change the future of everyone involved‚” he said.

Kritzinger said the community was still in “total shock”.

He said he received a message on Tuesday morning saying: “These kids were meant to die to unite South Africa.”

Kritzinger added: “I firmly believe that black and white understand for once in their lives what SA can be. If we can capitalise on this moment of tragedy‚ we can change the country.”

Pupils of Hoërskool Driehoek in Vanderbijl Park returned to school on Tuesday for the first time following the death of four pupils after the collapse of a concrete walkway.

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