The two drivers who were allegedly involved in the “chicken” game that is believed to have caused the fatal accident involving six school children on the R614 in Dalton near Greytown a week ago, will soon face the full might of the law.
At Saturday’s mass funeral at Emakeni, outside Umshwati, the head of the Department of Transport, Sibusiso Gumbi, assured the families of the pupils and a 17-year-old taxi conductor that police investigations were closing in on the drivers.
The pupils attended Cool Air Combined and Matatane high schools.
Preliminary investigations had revealed that the taxis were overloaded, speeding and that the drivers did not respect the rules of the road, he said
The drivers were allegedly negligent. Part of the police investigation included the screening of the drivers to check if they possessed the correct licences to transport the public. Police were also investigating the allegations that the drivers played a game called ‘chicken’,” Gumbi said.
Although police were investigating a case of culpable homicide, speakers at the funeral called for the charges to be
Although police were investigating a case of culpable homicide, speakers at the funeral called for the charges to be elevated to murder.
We want a thorough investigation so that we can put the driver or the drivers responsible behind bars. We will update the families of the victims about the findings of the investigations. Although it will not bring back their loved ones, we hope it will console them,” Gumbi said.
It is alleged that the drivers played “chicken”, which involved them driving towards oncoming traffic and quickly swerving to avoid a collision.
The coffins of pupils Billy Ngubane, 12; Senamile Ngubane, 12; Mthokozisi Mgube, 13; Sandile Zondi, 17; Wendy Zondi, 17; and Nosipho Myaka, 17; were lined up in front of the marquee packed with their families, fellow pupils, teachers and community members who came to pay their respects.
Thanda Dladla, 17, a conductor in one of the taxis, was also buried with the pupils.
The drivers are recovering in hospital.
The speakers ranged from the principals of the schools to pupils and officials of the departments of Education, and Transport, Community Safety and Liaison.
The head of the Education Department, Enoch Nzama, said too many schoolchildren had been buried this year alone and called for something to be done to prevent the unnecessary road carnage.
Five pupils were killed in a taxi accident in Ntuzuma on the first day of school this year.
Nzama said the sad reality was that the official school transport could not reach all the schools, and children were forced to use public transport.
“We are going to continue our engagement with the taxi industry to discuss how the safety of the children travelling to school on public transport can be achieved,” Nzama said.