JOHANNESBURG — Several pupils and mourners at the Verena mass funeral for 16 pupils who were killed in a horrific taxi crash had to be escorted to a mobile clinic outside the packed marquee, after some were overwhelmed with grief and collapsed.
Twenty people died in the accident last month, including the taxi driver and a general worker at one of the schools. Two more pupils will be buried today.
The taxi crashed into a truck on the R25 between Verena and Bronkhorstpruit last month.
Pupil after pupil had to be escorted out of the packed marquee where the funeral service was taking place in Mpumalanga because they were overcome with emotion and cried uncontrollably.
Many mourners also had to be carried out on stretchers after fainting during proceedings.
Parents, friends and community members were inconsolable as they cried and screamed. Some mourners were comforted by nurses, social workers and counsellors.
Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, said, “It is the darkest day of this nation and we share in your grief. On my way here the words of a verse from the book of Job (came to me) which said, I came naked from my mother’s womb and I will be naked when I leave . . . “The Lord gave me what I had and he has taken it away. And praise be the name of the Lord.”
She also cited a verse from the book of Timothy saying humans come into the world with nothing and when they die, they leave with nothing.
She urged the mourners to be calm and to accept what had happened.