By Nqobile Tshili
A GRADE Four pupil at Malindela Primary School in Bulawayo’s Old Pumula suburb died after he was knocked down by a speeding commuter omnibus as schools opened for the third term yesterday.
Emmanuel Mlambo (8) was run over by a speeding kombi which killed him on the spot as he was heading to school with his friends.
His uncle, Mr Njabulo Ncube, said the family was devastated with Emmanuel’s death and blamed the kombi driver for negligent driving.
“We’re told that the driver who was using his cellphone veered off the road and hit the young boy who was walking on the side of the road, killing him on the spot. This is devastating and we are saddened as a family by his death which was caused by a reckless driver,” he said.
“The young boy was excited about going to school on the first day of school. Last term he did not go to school after he broke his arm. So he was very excited about schools opening for the third term.”
Mr Ncube said Emmanuel lived with his grandmother as his parents work in Harare.
Acting Bulawayo Provincial Education Director Mrs Olicah Kaira expressed sadness following Emmanuel’s death.
“I was told of the accident at 6:45AM and I drove to the scene and I found his body already covered with a red blanket as police had attended the scene. When I checked the vehicle that hit him, its headlights were broken and you can only imagine the impact on the child. The driver could have been speeding,” said Mrs Kaira.
“It’s a sad way of starting our third term. We don’t know how the accident happened but we mourn the loss of a young life. As the education sector we just nurture these children who are our future leaders. And it’s painful to lose them in road accidents like this.”
She said schools were playing their part in educating children about rules of the road and motorists should play their part by driving safely on the roads.
“A number of our children are dying in these road accidents. I might not have the actual statistics but more than 10 pupils might have been run over and killed in traffic accidents this year,” said Mrs Kaira.
She said it is worrying that the accident that claimed Emmanuel’s life occurred in the child’s locality.
“We encourage parents to send their children to schools near where they stay instead of making children commute when there are schools in their locality.
“This accident occurred in the boy’s local area. It was unavoidable for him not to cross the road. So we appeal to motorists to refrain from speeding especially in the morning and towards the evening when children will be going and coming from school,” Mrs Kaira said.
Bulawayo deputy police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube said the kombi driver had been arrested and is assisting police with investigations.
“We suspect that the driver could have been speeding. We’re actually appealing to motorists to exercise caution on the roads. Schools are now open and many pupils will be crossing roads or walking along the roadside. Drivers should be on high alert to avoid such mishaps,” he said. The Chronicle.