Report finds Pongola truck driver at fault – Mbalula
Report finds Pongola truck driver at fault – Mbalula Photo: Twitter / Dept of Basic Education

Speaking from the UK where he is attending Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral, President Cyril Ramaphosa has expressed his deep sadness at the death of 19 learners and two adults in a collision between a bakkie and a truck near Pongola in northern KwaZulu-Natal on Friday.

The learners were being transported on a bakkie when their vehicle collided with the truck. Video footage showed the truck was speeding (overtaking) on the wrong side of the road and drove head-on into the bakkie.

The President conveyed his condolences to all the families who lost loved ones in the incident and wished the survivors a speedy and full recovery.

“This is yet another sad moment for our country, following the substantial loss of young lives in an Eastern Cape tavern recently.

“We cannot afford to lose such precious lives under any conditions. I hope the investigation into the Pongola incident will shed light on the cause of this tragedy and help us take better care of our children into the future,” said the President.

According to local reports, the truckdriver admitted he had been part of a blockade nearby and was fleeing from police. The driver has been arrested.

According to a statement by the Transport Department in KwaZulu-Natal, the driver handed himself over to the police on Saturday after a call by the MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Sipho Hlomuka.

Police had launched a manhunt after he fled the scene following the accident.

The driver is expected to appear in the Phongolo Magistrate Court today.

“His arrest is important in assisting the families to deal with the devastation of losing their relatives. We commend the police who have had to activate all systems to make sure that the driver is pressured to surrender himself. We will be there to support the people of Phongolo and the families during his court appearance on Monday,” Hlomuka said in a statement. –