They died in the Riebie bus accident


While the investigation into the cause of the bus accident that claimed the lives of six learners from the Riebeeckstad High School in the Free State continues, the victims’ names were announced on Thursday.

“Our hearts go out to the families and friends of those who lost their lives in this regrettable incident. We ask that the bereaved families’ privacy be respected at this time,” Lt. Gen. Baile Motswenyane, provincial police chief, said.

The police, in consultation with the families involved, identified the learners as follows:

• Oagile Gailele (13)
• Lerato Keketsi (13)
• Busisiwe Makansela (13)
• Tlotlisang Mokotjo (13)
• Relebohile Nteo (14)
• Katleho Semelo (13)

Motswenyane also once again expressed her deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the young learners.
The accident happened on Tuesday when the bus in which the group of learners was travelling, overturned on the R70 road between Ventersburg and Senekal, about 30 km outside Ventersburg. One of the bus’ tires is thought to have burst.

The learners and two teachers were on their way home from a sports event at Moolmanshoek near Rosendal.
The police are investigating a case of culpable homicide, but it is premature at this stage to hold anyone accountable, Motswenyane said.

“We appeal to the community to be sensitive about the details of the accident and to refrain from unconfirmed information that could put more stress on the families – families who are already going through a very difficult time.”

Earlier in a statement, the school expressed gratitude for the “overwhelming love and support we receive from far and wide”.

“Your goodwill touched our hearts deeply,” reads the message.

“The Riebie family truly appreciates every gesture, message and helping hand that has been extended during this time. Thank you for being there for us when we need it most.”