Twenty two learners from Gaetsho Secondary and JM Lekgetha Commercial
schools in Lichtenburg were admitted at the hospital after their learner transport was involved in an accident. The MEC for the
Department of Community Safety and Transport Management, Sello Lehari
accompanied by Head of Department, Dr Hans Kekana visited both schools
on Wednesday, 07 February 2024.

According to the report presented to
the MEC by Gaetsho Secondary School principal, Mr Sydney Modikwe, the
bus steering wheel came off whilst the bus was in motion and the driver lost control.

The driver allegedly jumped out of the moving bus which then hit the tree before coming to a stop. According to an 18
year old learner who uses the same bus, says this is the second incident where the bus steering wheel came off. On previous occasion, the MEC was told, the driver was able to put it back and there was no
incident at the time. This time unfortunately 22 of the 51 learners on board were taken to the hospitals with injuries.

Head of Department, Dr Hans Kekana says the preliminary investigation by Public Transport Directorate, indicate the operator had rented a bus on the day of the vehicle verification process. “The service
provider would not have been given a service level agreement if this
was the bus that was inspected. As per the service level agreement, this kind of contravention leaves us with no option but to terminate the agreement with the service provider,” says Dr Kekana.

Following challenges experienced since schools reopening, MEC Lehari
established the ‘War Room’ chaired by Dr Kekana. This is to address challenges as and when reported and where needs arise, operators who are breaching the agreement are replaced. Added to this, MEC Lehari
has directed that henceforth law enforcement officers must inspect
learner busses to and from school.

“Our priority is the safety of learners. Strict measures need to be applied to ensure that safety is never compromised,” said MEC Lehari.

Seventeen of the eighteen hospitalised learners were discharged and
are now treated as out patients. MEC Lehari wished speedy recovery to the injured learners and strength to their parents, fellow learners and the teachers. The Department’s senior managers visited learners to provide counselling support.