Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) mourns the death of seven University of the Witwatersrand students that perished in a tragic vehicle accident on Monday on the N1 highway on their way back from Limpopo.
MUT Vice-Chancellor & Principal, Professor Mashupye Kgaphola said: “The tragic passing of the students is sad news indeed. We extend our condolences to their families and friends, as we pray for them to find the grace and strength to bear the pain of the loss. May their souls rest in peace.” The sentiments sum up the mood within the University community after hearing about the tragic passing of the students in what has been termed a “black weekend.”
Wits spokesperson Shirona Patel said the Toyota Quantum minibus carrying students from a Zion Christian Church prayer meeting in Polokwane hit an overturned trailer in the middle of the road then hit a tree before bursting into flames. Six others are receiving treatment in Limpopo, but Wits management said some of them will be moved to Johannesburg for specialist treatment.
Wits Vice-Chancellor Adam Habib and the dean of students, Puleng Lenka-Bula and a few SRC members travelled to Mokopane, Limpopo on Monday in response to the accident. Patel said that the delegated team was there to identify the deceased and offer support to the next of kin. Wits management said they’re seeking answers on the circumstances of the accident and whether emergency services responded on time.
The university is flying flags at half-mast while preparing for a mass memorial service later this week.