The truck driver involved in uPhongolo crash to appear in court

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The driver of the truck that was involved in a horror crash on the N2 near uPhongolo is expected to appear in the local Magistrate’s Court in northern KwaZulu-Natal on Monday.

The truck driver had initially fled the scene and was arrested following the crash which killed 19 school children and two adults on Friday.

The children were travelling home in the bakkie after school.

At the weekend, protesting residents prevented truck drivers from using the N2 in the area. They say they have been complaining for years about reckless driving by truck drivers and allegedly unroadworthy heavy vehicles.

KwaZulu-Natal Transport MEC Sipho Hlomuka will be visiting uPhongolo. He is expected to visit the school attended by many of the children who died in the crash and is expected to also meet with residents to discuss solutions to the problem.

Scores of residents have complained about trucks driving recklessly on the N2 which runs through the town.

Video footage allegedly shows the driver of the truck overtaking on a solid line moments before Friday’s crash.

President Cyril Ramaphosa also expressed his shock, saying the country cannot afford to lose young people in this manner.

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

“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 in the future”, he added.

21 killed in uPhongolo crash

Meanwhile, the Department of Education says it has started providing psycho-social support to learners, teachers and the families of the deceased.

Department spokesperson Howard Ndaba says they will help families with the funeral.

“We are going to continue with the counselling of both learners and the parents as we have seen now. The counselling was done by our director of inclusive education. He was counseling the parents. We will continue to give that support to the parents. We are also looking at how to talk to other stakeholders, to help the families in this hour of need. To make sure that our learners get a decent burial,” says Ndaba.