Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga on Friday asked the Malamulele community to pray for the 19-year-old who was arrested after allegedly losing control of a car, killing six fellow high school pupils who were his passengers.
Limpopo police spokesperson Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo said the driver, who was injured in the accident, was arrested after being discharged from hospital.
“He was driving his father’s bakkie without a licence when he lost control of the vehicle and drove into a house. His father said he had taken the car without permission. He was arrested after leaving hospital this week and has appeared in court,” said Mojapelo.
The police investigation would determine the exact circumstances leading to the crash.
The passengers who died were identified as Obrie Vuxaka Chauke, Nhlaluko Maluleke, Tommy Masipenda, Themba Nyambi, Ringani Vukosi Selby and Freedom Rihlampfu.
Eight pedestrians were injured.
The driver is facing six counts of culpable homicide, driving a motor vehicle without a driver’s licence, and allegedly using a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent.
Additional charges might be added at a later stage.
He is in custody and expected to appear again in the Malamulele Magistrates’s Court on 28 April for a bail application.
On Friday morning, Motshekga attended the joint funeral of four of the pupils at Jim Chavani Secondary School in Malamulele, Limpopo. One pupil was buried on Thursday, and another one will be buried on Saturday.
“I must also appeal and ask all the affected families and the community to also put in their prayers the pupil who happened to be responsible for this unfortunate incident,” she said, adding that the education sector had lost future leaders.
“This loss is comparable to none. I cannot even begin to imagine your pain as parents, relatives and the broader community.”
She urged pupils to put more effort into their academic work in honour of the deceased.
Motshekga said the community should consider erecting a memorial for the pupils.
“A memorial stone in honour of our beloved children might be an idea I wish to plant for you to think over.”
He told the court he believed a local businessman might be behind the murders because of a row over a business transaction.
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