Rheenendal crash parents still wait for final answer

WHILE the parents of the 14 children who died in the Rheenendal bus tragedy are still haunted by the horrors of that day, they are relieved the days of reliving the nightmare in court are over.

The inquest into the accident on August 24 2011 concluded in the Knsyna Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

The crash claimed the lives of 14 pupils and the driver, Tiaan Colin Payle, 65, when the African Express Tata school bus they were travelling in plunged into the Kasadrift River, near Knysna.

“Although nothing can bring our children back, we need to know exactly what happened on that day and who is to blame,” Cornelius Davidson said, speaking on behalf of the parents.

Davidson lost his 17-year-old son Ashwell, who would have come of age in November this year.

During the inquest, various expert witnesses testified about possible reasons – from major issues with the brakes, suspension, steering, clutch and structure of the bus to driver error – which could explain why the bus ended up in the river.

Magistrate Derek Torlage said on Friday he would be making his final recommendations to the director of public prosecutions after hearing the various parties’ legal representatives’ heads of argument. This would occur at the end of July.

Once the recommendations had been made, the parents could possibly proceed with civil claims. – Yolande Stander

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