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Media Release

Wednesday, 5 June, 2002

Bus crash near Piketberg

Statement by André Gaum, Western Cape Education Minister

A bus carrying 18 learners home from Steynville Primary and Secondary Schools, Piketberg, to Meintjieskraaal farm left the gravel road about 10 kilometres from Piketberg about 14h30 on Monday, 3 June 2002.

These learners were being carried as part of the Learner Transport Scheme of the Western Cape Education Department (WCED).

This scheme provides the children of poor rural communities with free transport to and from school in vehicles provided by contractors who have met the requirements of the Tender Board. In this case the contractor was Mr M. Smith of Goedverwacht, near Piketberg.

Two of the learners, both boys in Grade 5, suffered broken legs. Another learner hurt his back and two others sustained cuts, scrapes and bruises.

All five were initially taken to the Radie Kotze Hospital in Piketberg, and this morning the boys with fractures were transferred to Paarl Hospital. Of the other three, the one with the back injury has remained at Radie Kotze but is more comfortable today, while the remaining two have returned to their homes.

The WCED immediately made other arrangements to enable the children from Meintjieskraal to attend school without interruption today, which they did.

The South African Police Service was at the site of the accident and took statements from the learners involved in it. The WCEDís West Coast / Winelands district office is also investigating the circumstances of this event and will report on it in detail to the Departmentís Head Office.

On behalf of the WCED I should like to extend my sympathy and concern to the children who were involved in this unhappy incident, as also to their parents and other relatives. This is absolutely not the sort of thing to which we wish any of our learners or their families to be subjected, and we shall do everything in our power to establish what caused it and to prevent anything similar from happening again in future.

Issued by:
The Communications Directorate
Western Cape Education Department
Private Bag X9114
Cape Town 8000
Tel: (021) 467-2531
Fax: (021) 467-2363
Email: pattwell@pawc.wcape.gov.za
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