'It's a pain we can't describe' - Lesufi at Hoërskool Driehoek memorial
Learners, parents, family members and friends of the children killed in the Hoërskool Driehoek tragedy gathered at the Kompas church in Vanderbijlpark on Monday for a memorial service in honour of four deceased pupils, Netwerk24 reported.
Speaking at the service were pastors Marius Malan and Wiaan Storm, after which congregants released hundreds of purple and yellow balloons into the air outside the church building. Parents had baked 2 500 cupcakes, also in yellow and purple, the school's primary colours.
According to Netwerk24, the memorial service followed the private funeral services for the deceased pupils.
On February 1, a concrete slab above a corridor linking two blocks of buildings came crashing down on 26 pupils at the Vanderbijlpark school.
Roydon Olckers, Jandré Steyn and Marli Currie died on the scene. A fourth pupil, Marnus Nagel, later succumbed to his injuries in hospital. The four were buried last week.
Some 14 learners are still being treated in hospital for various injuries.
Injured learner suffered setback
On Monday, News24 reported that one of the learners, 13-year-old Cheverné Duvenhage, had suffered a setback on Sunday after sustaining multiple injuries.
She had to be sedated and connected to a respirator after having heart palpitations. According to Vaalweekblad, she fractured a hip in the incident. Her liver and stomach wall were torn and she sustained head injuries. She also sustained internal bleeding, which has since been stopped. Her life was reportedly hanging by a thread.
At the memorial on Monday, Malan said the four deceased learners were, metaphorically, grains of wheat that would grow where they had fallen, according to Netwerk24.
"This is the beginning of something new at Hoërskool Driehoek," Malan reportedly said.
Pupils of the school returned there on Monday as parts of the school building had been declared safe, News24 reported.
With the tragedy at the school still very fresh in everyone's minds, schooling would resume slowly with reintegration efforts and counselling, the Gauteng Education department stated.
Tents had been erected to temporarily accommodate pupils. Counsellors would be available to pupils throughout the week.
Pupils, parents and supporters had left T-shirts, flags, pictures and wreaths at the school fence in remembrance of those lost.
Speaking to eNCA on Monday, Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi, who attended the memorial, said that February 1 would be remembered every year.
"I want to send our sincere condolences to all the families and also wish those who were injured a speedy recovery. We remain united… it's a pain that we can't describe," Lesufi said.