South Africa: Come Together for Driehoek Says Ramaphosa

The scene at Hoërskool Driehoek in Vanderbijlpark after a walkway collapsed.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has offered his deepest sympathy to the friends and family of the three children who died when a walkway collapsed at Höerskool Driehoek in Vanderbijlpark on Friday.

"I offer my deepest sympathy to the families and friends of the deceased learners and I equally extend my condolences to the staff and entire school community of [Höerskool Driehoek]," said Ramaphosa in a statement released late on Friday night.

"This is a tragedy that touches all South Africans. We have lost young people who were engaged in the most important endeavour of their young lives - their education."

He wished those injured a speedy recovery, and welcomed the psychosocial support extended to all those affected.

"It is my hope that the people of our country and of the Vaal will at this time come together as one to support the Driehoek school community in this hour of mourning, while government, working with the school community, embarks on a process to establish the cause of this tragedy and to ensure that we can, at an appropriate time and under appropriate conditions resume learning and teaching."

Three children were killed and more than 20 were injured when a concrete slab collapsed on to them as they were leaving assembly and going to class on Friday morning.

Condolences and messages of support were flooding in from other schools, government officials and political parties, amongst others.

A mother rushing to the school in a panic was also injured in a car accident.

The incident has sparked questions about the structural integrity of school buildings across South Africa.

Shocked by the tragedy, Parliament's portfolio committee on education called for an immediate investigation to make sure that it does not happen again, or at any other school.

"The committee wishes to send their deepest condolences to the parents, school and the entire community", said chairperson Joe Mpisi.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time," added Mpisi, wishing those injured a speedy recovery.

So far the name of 17-year-old athlete Roydon Olckers has been released to the media by his grieving father Donovan.

News24 is still waiting for permission to release the names of the two girls who were killed.

Source: News24

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