A righteous father who lost his child after 26 students collapsed into a structure and claimed that he was living in the Hoerskool Driehoek Vanderbijlpark says his son is with God in heaven.
Donald Olcker told News24 that he had worked when he received a desperate call for a bridge at school. He quickly rushed to school, and when he arrived, another pupil told him that his son, Roydon (17), was one of those captured under the rubble.
Olckers has another son in grade 8 at the same school.
"My youngest son was sorry and cried that I should go and help my older brother, who was trapped under the ruins.
"I went to the rubble and told me that Roydon was still breathing and was in a pulse. Later, a policeman came to me and broke the sadness that Roydon had gone," he said.
The sad father described Roydon as an energetic man who loved sports and dances. The initial tragedy, the Matrix, was on his way to his class with other students.
Olckers and several other parents and residents came to the wreaths outside the school gate on Friday evening. He bravely turned to the crowd of mourning, saying that his son is now in the hands of God.
"I appreciate the support I have received. I don't break the tears, and I know it didn't happen for no reason. Then there's life," he said.
"Only God knows why it happened"
Pastor Wynand Hanekom approached the mourners, encouraging them to trust and rely on God. Hanekom delighted the parents in prayer, saying that God conquered all.
"We know where our strength comes from. We pray and want those in the hospital to recover quickly. God is with us. He is for everyone and today. We stand here looking for our strength," Hanekom concluded.
The Emfuleni municipalities in Maipato Tsokolibane said that the support given to the school was humiliated. She said the accident had affected the whole community and the country as a whole.
"I am injured as a parent. We are one single family. I know there is a pain in the loss of a child. Only God knows why this has happened. In our schools, this should not happen," she said.
TO READ: Vanderbijlpark School Tragedy: "He was a beautiful child of God" – dead family member
Roydon is one of two male students and a woman who died on a Friday morning. They were between 13 and 18 years old. Twenty-three pupils were injured in an accident – five of them seriously. They were all taken to hospital for treatment.
At school, an employee told News24 earlier that day she was still tormented by falling concrete slab images. She said she was experiencing a tragedy soon after 8:00 am, when students left the meeting room to return to class.
She added that the injured pupils were lying near the road, but the bodies of the three dead were trapped under a concrete slab.
"It's a sad day"
The concrete slab was above the pedestrian walkway connecting two buildings at a 45-year-old school.
Shortly after the tragedy, Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi immediately stopped school so the police could investigate.
The roads around the school were also closed, and Lesufi, who was also rushed to the scene, asked the people of the region to cooperate.
"Currently, students are not in a position to return to class. We will open an emergency center [the] the school where advice will be offered, ”he said.
"It's a sad day, and we didn't plan, nor did we anticipate that we would have this kind of disaster. We thank everyone who responded quickly and helped save our students."
Lesufi thanked the municipalities who helped the injured pupils.
Gauteng police officer Captain Kay Makhubele said he had an inquiry page open.