School mourns after three teachers die in car crash in Northern Cape

Fourth teacher survived the crash and remains critical in a Kimberley hospital

Suthentira Govender Senior reporter
Three teachers from Umso High School in Colesberg, Northern Cape, died in a car crash on Saturday night and a fourth remains critical. Stock photo.
Three teachers from Umso High School in Colesberg, Northern Cape, died in a car crash on Saturday night and a fourth remains critical. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/Bunyarit Suwansantawee

A Northern Cape high school has been plunged into mourning after three teachers were killed in an accident on Saturday night, while a fourth teacher and sole survivor of the horror crash remains in a critical condition.

Social workers and church pastors were deployed to Umso High School in Colesberg on Monday morning to counsel grief-stricken pupils and staff following the tragedy.

The teachers’ identities cannot be revealed because their families have not yet completed the identification process.

Principal Nontsikelelo Ziswana told TimesLIVE: “We are deeply saddened and traumatised by their deaths. This is a huge shock for us.”

Ziswana said it appeared the four teachers — three men and a woman — were returning from a social gathering.

“Two of them died on the spot and the other teacher passed on in hospital.”

The fourth teacher “is in ICU at a Kimberley hospital fighting for his life”.

Ziswana said the cause of the accident remained unclear.

“It is very difficult. Our pupils and staff are devastated. It’s not easy to have three teachers die at one time and a fourth teacher fighting for his life. Social workers are still busy with the children.

“There are some who have broken down after hearing about this tragedy. Church pastors have also come to talk to staff and pupils.

“For now we can’t release their names. We are still waiting for the families to complete the identification process.”

The Northern Cape education department said it “conveys our most heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families as they come to terms with this devastating untimely departure of their loved ones.

“We want to assure the families and the school community that we feel this huge loss with them. The collective contribution of these teachers to learning has been ripped away from  their pupils and our province.”

The department said support and counselling would be provided to the school.

Bongiwe Mbinqo-Gigaba, chair of the basic education portfolio committee, said she was “deeply saddened by the tragic loss.

“The death of these teachers comes at the same time as the devastation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic when so many in the sector have lost their lives.

“It further comes at a time when the class of 2021 will write their final Life Orientation examination days before this class writes their preliminary exams and weeks before they sit for their final National Senior Certificate examinations.

“We appeal to all in the sector to assist where possible and where it’s needed.”

TimesLIVE

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