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Calls for strict road rules at schools

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Parents in Kimberley have called for stricter road rules to be enforced near schools or places where there are a large number of children.

Five-year-old Grade R pupil Jethro Mongale died after he was hit by a taxi. Picture: Supplied

PARENTS in Kimberley have called for stricter road rules to be enforced near schools or places where there are a high number of children.

This follows after a five-year-old Grade R pupil from Progress Primary School, Jethro Mongale, died after he was hit by a taxi on Wednesday, moments after the school had dismissed.

Witnesses claimed that the taxi driver responsible for the accident appeared to be unaware of the incident and apparently had to be called back to the scene.

Jethro died at the scene.

His mother, Linda Mongale, said she never imagine that she would lose her son at such a young age.

“It feels unreal and it has not yet sunk in that he is no more. He only started school this year. I never imagined that he would leave us in this manner and at this age,” she said.

Community members and concerned parents pointed out that some motorists do not reduce their speed when they drive past the school or have to pick up other pupils.

“There is a speed bump in the road in front of the gate of the school, however, some drivers speed over that speed bump. They do not take into account that there are young children at the school. Some vehicles even speed when they drive away after they have picked up learners. That is so irresponsible and poses a danger for the rest of the children who are waiting for their transport,” they said.

They added that the Department of Education must appoint road marshals at all schools to ensure that drivers stick to the road rules.

“There are some schools in the city that have road marshals that help learners cross the road and even control the flow of traffic. Some drivers cause chaos when they have to drop off or pick up learners from school. Some school transport drivers do not ensure that the learners they are transporting cross the road safely. Others are in a hurry as they have many children to pick up or drop off at school. There needs to be order and the safety of our children should be prioritised during these times.

“As parents, none of us would like our children to get injured or even die, as happened in this case, when we send them to school. This incident needs to be urgently addressed. If the department cannot solve it, then we need to tackle it ourselves as parents and community members. If not, we will continue to cry next to the school.

“This is a heartbreaking incident, but we cannot just shake our heads and not get a solution to it. This problem can be easily resolved,” they said.

Northern Cape Department of Education spokesperson Sydney Stander urged parents to be at the forefront in the establishment of road safety structures at schools.

“The school safety framework advocates for Road Safety to work together with schools to ensure patrols during peak hours at schools. This is part of ensuring learner safety and also to caution drivers to be more cautious and vigilant when driving past schools. There is a protocol agreement between the provincial Department of Education and the provincial Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison that governs the relationship. Parents and community members are support structures for schools and can play a voluntary role in ensuring the safety of learners,” said Stander.

He conveyed his condolences to the family.

“This is a very painful experience for any parent as we have lost the deceased at a very young age and also at a time when we had many dreams for his future. We also want to extend our condolences to the learners and teachers at the school as they have also shared in this loss.

“As the department, we will ensure that the district leadership and the school principal lead a delegation to the family of the deceased and to assess the psychological support that is required and should be provided,” Stander said.

Kimberley police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Sergio Kock said the police are investigating a culpable homicide case.

“The Kimberley police are investigating a culpable homicide after a male scholar was knocked over by a taxi after school. The taxi allegedly picked up other scholars when it fatally wounded the Grade 5 learner. Anyone with information can contact Detective Constable JR Webb on 069 703 9826. The investigation continues,” said Kock.

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