The 29-year-old driver of the vehicle which was involved in a crash which claimed the lives of five female learners has been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, reports Polokwane Review.
He also faces five counts of culpable homicide, confirmed police spokesperson Brig Motlefela Mojapelo.
The learners from Mashego Secondary School in Monsterlus died when the vehicle they were travelling overturned on the R574 road between Groblersdal and Mpudulle on Tuesday. The vehicle rolled several times and the girls were killed instantly.
Mojapelo added that the driver and his ‘crew’ were the only survivors. The driver sustained injuries and was taken to a nearby hospital, where he is still being held under police guard.
He will appear in absentia in the Nebo Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, facing charges of drunk driving and culpable homicide.
Provincial Police Commissioner Lt Genl Nneke Ledwaba has warned drivers to desist from drinking and driving.
“The police will be uncompromisingly determined to deal with drunk drivers during roadblocks and stop and searches,” Ledwaba concluded.
Limpopo education MEC Polly Boshielo expressed her “deepest sorrow and devastation” following the accident.
According to the department, the pupils had been hiking home after writing their Agricultural Science and English examinations.
Sending her deepest condolences to the families, Boshielo said: “We are deeply saddened. Our hearts are heavy and we accordingly send our deepest heartfelt condolences to the families of our learners and the school community.
“This is a very difficult time for all of us, friends and relatives of these learners. We lack the necessary words at this point in time. We must be united in this time of grief.”
According to a statement issued by the department, a psychosocial unit has been dispatched to provide trauma counselling to learners, teachers, support staff and the bereaved families.
(Additional reporting, News24)