Government has pledged to release an undisclosed amount to cover the funeral expenses of seven Matsha College students who died on Friday in a road accident, Parliament heard Tuesday.
The Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration Eric Molale also promised that government would provide psychosocial support to all the affected families. Some 121 students were involved in the accident while being transported to their different villages after completing their Botswana General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) final examinations.
The driver and his assistant are currently admitted at Scottish Livingstone in Molepolole. Molale said parents whose children are admitted at the hospitals will continue to be assisted with transport to visit their children. “In addition, some parents whose children are admitted have been provided with accommodation more especially in Gaborone,” he said.
But MPs for Selibe Phikwe West Dithapelo Keorapetse and Gaborone Central Dr. Phenyo Butale demanded to know why students were transported in a trucks when there is a policy that abolished their use to which Molale said would be answered after the ongoing investigations. “The policy of Government is to transport students in buses. This investigation will include why a truck was used in this instance. The investigation will therefore leave no stone unturned,” he said Molale would neither confirm or deny allegations that the cause of the accident was a tyre burst.
He said the police investigations would shed light on this as well. At the weekend press conference Minister of Education Skills and Development, Unity Dow, revealed that the children’s ages range between 15 and 22 and that, some of them were enrolled with Botswana College of Distance Learning (BOCODOL). She confirmed that it was a policy that students are not supposed to be transported by trucks, but noted that in some instances the terrains determine the mode of transport to be used.
Her counterpart, Minister of Health, Dorcas Malesu said that in conjunction with the Botswana Defence Force, Boitekanelo College and MedRescue International, they were able to get at least 15 ambulances to the accident scene. But in Parliament after Molale’s address, Molepolole legislator Mohammed Khan said ambulances arrived late at the accident. “The helicopter arrived at 6 pm yet the accident occurred at 2pm. We could have saved lives if they arrived well in time,” he said.