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Teen driver charged after girls killed

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By Botho Molosankwe

Johannesburg - Seeing a car approach them at high speed, a group of girls playing on the pavement screamed and scattered to get out of the way.

However, the speeding BMW - which was seemingly out of control - went straight for four girls. It hit them, then proceeded to hit a gate and a wall, crushing them against metal and bricks.

Gerald Mkhondo, who lives nearby, was about to have a bath when he heard screeching tyres, followed by screams and a loud bang. He ran out and was confronted by a cloud of dust. When the dust settled, he saw the injured and dead children scattered around the car. One of the children was still trapped under one of the tyres.

Residents arrived and allegedly assaulted the 16-year-old unlicensed driver, who was believed to be drag racing at the time of the incident. His girlfriend, who was with him in the car, fled the scene. The incident happened on Monday in Kaalfontein, Midrand.

Manoko Lekgoala, 9, and Precious Magaela, 12, who were in Grade 3 and Grade 7 respectively at Ebony Park Primary School, died at the scene.

A schoolmate, Dikeledi Moreba, who was in Grade 6, and Manoko’s cousin, Phuti, 12, from Kaalfontein Primary School, were injured.

Police spokesman Captain Manyadza Ralidzhivha said the teenage boy had been charged with reckless and negligent driving causing an injury, culpable homicide, and driving a car without the owner’s consent.

Ralidzhivha said the boy arrived home to find his grandmother sleeping, and allegedly stole her car keys and drove off. He said the boy was an orphan and had been released into his grandmother’s custody. He will appear in the Tembisa Magistrate’s Court on November 28. A memorial service for Manoko and Precious was held at their school on Thursday.

Addressing the mourners, a Gauteng Department of Education official, Phumzile Mbokazi, said it was obvious that some people had not learnt from the conviction of hip hop star Molemo “Jub Jub” Maarohanye and his friend Themba Tshabalala.

The two were recently found guilty of four counts of murder and two of attempted murder when they ploughed into six schoolchildren, killing four and seriously injuring two. They were drag racing at the time.

botho.molosankwe@inl.co.za

The Star

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