North West Premier Thandi Modise has conveyed her condolences to the families of three children, who were killed after the vehicle they were travelling in was involved in a crash at a railway crossing in Rustenburg.
Premier Modise wished those in hospital a speedy recovery. She called on road traffic management authorities to clamp down on reckless driving, overloading and illegal learner transportation.
"Although Transnet spent R4.8 million on the Road Safety Level Crossing Project... to bring down level crossing fatalities, drivers who ignore the rules of the road are still putting the lives of passengers at risk," said Premier Modise.
She called on parents to ensure that their children are transported in properly licensed scholar transport vehicles.
According to police, the driver of a Toyota Avanza that was transporting 12 pre- and primary school children, between Zinniaville and Rustenburg Noord, allegedly decided to pass other motorists who were waiting at the train level crossing to allow an oncoming train to pass.
"The vehicle got stuck on the railway level crossing and the oncoming train hit and dragged it, resulting in the immediate death of an eight-year-old boy on the spot. Two more children were declared dead on arrival at the Job Shimankana Tabane Hospital," Colonel Sabata Mokgwabone said.
The remaining children and the driver were admitted at the hospital, where they are said to be in a critical state. Mokgwabone said police are investigating a case of culpable homicide and why the vehicle was illegally ferrying passengers.
"At this moment ... [we are looking into] why 12 children were being transported in a vehicle which was not certified to carry passengers as a taxi," said Mokgwabone.
He said the driver also faces an additional charge of reckless and negligent driving and that police were also considering charging the driver with overloading, as well contravening the National Road Traffic Act.