The Gauteng Department of Education on Friday said the Hoërskool Driehoek in Vanderbijl Park where a walkway collapsed killing three pupils and injuring more than 20, would be closed immediately for safety reasons.
“There won’t be schooling until further notice,” said Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi.
Lesufi said about 26 pupils suffered injuries, including the girl and two boys who died when the walkway collapsed.
“So far we have managed to identify one deceased learner. The remaining two we are still trying to identify and notify next of kin,” said Lesufi.
He said that counselling would be provided to all learners, parents and officials on the school grounds. Lesufi said an instruction had been issued that no learner would be refused medical assistance just because they did not have medical aid.
“It breaks my heart to see those innocent souls, bodies still lying there,” Lesufi said.
He urged law enforcement agencies to complete their work so that the bodies of the deceased could be released to the families.
He said it was heartbreaking to see learners in tears and every learner would receive counselling.
“On behalf of Gauteng government we send our condolences to the affected families and wish those injured a speedy recovery,” said Lesufi.
“I would like to thank all emergency services and community members who came to assist.”
The MEC said that some of the surrounding roads would be temporarily closed and asked residents to be understanding.
“We are doing this for our children.”
Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA) on Friday joined the chorus of mourning for the three pupils who died.
“We further convey our thoughts and prayers to at least 21 pupils who were injured in this incident, and commend the speedy response of EMS personnel,” said Solly Msimanga, the DA’s Gauteng premier candidate. “It is vital that all learners and teachers are afforded counselling.”
He said as a parent, the greatest fear was the idea of burying one’s children. This reality had now befallen the families of the pupils who died in the incident.
“Together, we mourn as a province and nation, and pledge our support to the parents and guardians.”
Msimanga called on Lesufi to investigate the cause of the accident and to ensure the safety of the learners and teachers at the school.
He said he will be visiting the school on Monday to express his sympathies and lend his support to the community during this time of grief.
African News Agency/ANA