How school got shocking news about death of three teachers in car crash

Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi will on Thursday visit families of the three Riverlea High teachers who died.
Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi will on Thursday visit families of the three Riverlea High teachers who died.
Image: Gallo Images / Foto24 / Theana Breugem

Teachers at Riverlea High School in Johannesburg were shocked to learn that three colleagues were dead after a grieving family member visited the school on Wednesday and revealed they were killed in a head-on collision over the weekend.

The Gauteng education department said in a statement on Wednesday evening that the teachers died in a crash in the early hours of Sunday in Evaton.

School principal Ashley Harris said the teachers, two males and one female, did not report for duty on Monday.

“The principal called one educator, to no avail, and tried the second one, who also did not answer his phone as it went to voicemail,” said the statement.

“On Tuesday January 28, the three failed to report for duty again. Subsequently the principal took one educator, who was last seen with the missing educators, for a search mission where they reside in Orange Farm.

“On arrival at one educator's place, it was confirmed by neighbours that he was last seen on Friday. The principal and the educator immediately reported to the Orange Farm police to find out if there was no case reported to them … to no avail.”

The search carried on at a place where the teachers were last seen. It was confirmed that they had been there watching a soccer match.

The principal reported developments to the district official. Police then sought a statement from the educator last seen with the missing teachers.

On Tuesday evening, the principal was alerted to a horrific car accident in which three people died.

“Sadly, today [Wednesday] one family member visited the school at about 11am to report the unfortunate death of the three educators. The principal immediately convened a staff meeting to break the sad news and subsequently informed all learners and dismissed the school,” said the department.

Teachers and pupils are being offered counselling.

“We will provide temporary educators to assist with the process of teaching so that learners do not fall behind and [a] catch-up plan will be implemented accordingly,” said the department.

“We wish to convey our sincere condolences to the family and the entire school population. We are with them in our prayers during this difficult period of grief,” said MEC Panyaza Lesufi, who is set to visit the grieving families on Thursday.

- SowetanLIVE