AZ Berman Primary School held a vigil for the five primary school pupils who died last week when the bakkie they were travelling in crashed into a bus in AZ Berman Drive.
On Thursday June 1, AZ Berman Primary School, staff and pupils were joined by safety structures, church organisations and parents who stood at the site, bringing awareness to this issue during what was also national Child Protection Week.
The pupils stood inside the school behind the gate with placards to share messages of comfort and encouragement to all those affected by the crash.
National Child Protection Week, marked from Sunday May 28 to Sunday June 4, raises awareness of the rights of children.
Lawrence Pretorius, deputy principal at AZ Berman Primary, told the Plainsman on Thursday they’re still receiving counselling after the accident on Tuesday May 30 (“Five pupils killed in crash”, Plainsman May 30).
They’ve opened their school to officials and police since the accident.
“It was a very difficult event for us,” said Mr Pretorius.
“It happened here but none of our children were involved. Finding out the other schools were affected was a sad thing to experience with them and we helped where we could,” he said.
Sharon Orange, deputy principal, said it is difficult for all “of us, and what the pupils have witnessed”.
“We need traffic signs to be put up, informing people of the school and the words to be painted on the ground to let motorists know they’re passing a school. We are making use of the speed hump in the road as a pedestrian crossing in the meantime,” said Ms Orange.
Rob Quintas, the City of Cape Town’s Mayoral committee member for urban mobility, said the City’s Roads Infrastructure and Management team has now made arrangements to paint the word “School” next to the existing “Children” sign on AZ Berman Road on the northern side of the intersection. The existing “Children” sign will also be replaced with a new one.
AZ Berman teacher Cherryl May-Williams said they held the vigil in solidarity with parents and families of the children who died and all those affected by the accident. “Even though it wasn’t children from our school we feel for those who have been affected,” she said.
“In respect of Child Protection Week we particularly appeal to the people who are transporting children to school and any other aspects where children need to be protected, to keep them safe at all costs,” said Ms May-Williams.
Yolanda Cooper, parent of AZ Berman Primary, said the accident has caused emotional distress in the community.
“My son, 7, was asking questions. It could have been any of our children. It was an emotional roller-coaster for all of us and I pray that God makes it easier for them to bear,” she said.
Pastor Shona Abrahams from Cornerstone Faith Ministries, Westridge, and her group joined the school and prayed for the community.
“We are standing in the gap today for the parents and their families. We pray the blessing of God over them during this time,” she said.