Johannesburg – Two of the three school pupils who died when a concrete walkway collapsed at the Driehoek High School in Vanderbijlpark on Friday morning have been positively identified, and the labour department has taken over the school to conduct a structural assessment, the Gauteng education department said.
In an update on Saturday, the Gauteng education department, in collaboration with the disaster management team, confirmed that the death toll remained at three. "We want to also report that two of the deceased learners have been positively identified."
According to available information, 20 pupils were still receiving medical attention at different hospitals.
Police had confirmed that a parent of two pupils was involved in a car crash while driving to the school. She was rushed to a hospital for medical attention, and none of her children was affected or injured in the collapse. She was also still receiving medical attention at a local hospital.
An inquest case was being investigated by police regarding the circumstances surrounding the tragedy.
"The school has been taken over by the department of labour, and as such, no unauthorised person will be allowed on site. We further appreciate the overwhelming support received from the community and business sector. However, all support regarding structural rehabilitation must be channelled through the department of labour inspectors on site," the statement said.
The labour department would conduct a structural assessment with a view to issuing an exemption report which would allow the school to use certain areas of the property. The report was expected to be issued by Monday.
"The department of education will also appoint structural engineers to conduct a structural assessment," it said.
In terms of curriculum support, all grade 12 pupils would be prioritised and trauma counselling would be concluded by Tuesday. Trauma counselling for the other grades was scheduled for completion by Thursday.
"We wish to acknowledge and thank the community for the overwhelming support and plead with everyone to give space to authorities to conduct their work without interference. Let us limit our movements at the school as far as possible. The principal and SGB [school governing body] will be available to assist parents and communicate necessary information through the school communication channels accordingly," the department said.
African News Agency/ANA