Vanderbijlpark – The head of a Vanderbijlpark school where four pupils lost their lives following the collapse of a bridge says the school was not aware of any alarm bells reportedly raised regarding the stability of the structure.
On Sunday, it was reported that there had been warnings over the stability of Hoërskool Driehoek’s pedestrian bridge that were raised just two days before the tragedy.
On Friday morning, three pupils died and 21 more left injured after a bridge connecting the admin block and classrooms collapsed. A day later, a fourth pupil succumbed to his injuries, raising the death toll to four.
Rapport spoke to a pupil at the school who said that the bridge had been shaky since Wednesday and pupils had been scared to cross it as a result.
Principal Hein Knoetze, speaking to 702 on Monday morning, says the school was not aware of any reports on the bridge.
"We know nothing about that… even if it’s true, I don’t think it should be reported. No report was made about that… I don’t even want to speculate about that," he said.
Knoetze went on to stress that a great deal of money was spent on constant maintenance and infrastructure, with about R800 000 – R1 million being used to improve the school.
When questioned on whether the tragedy could’ve been avoided, Knoetze said he did not think so.
He confirmed that counselling would begin for the staff and pupils on Monday morning and added that an inspection was also being carried out.
A meeting would also be held with the school’s governing body to map a way forward, Knoetze confirmed.
The school remains closed.