Last Tuesday at approximately 21:45, a car accident involving residents of Sonop Tehuis occurred on the corner of Jan Shoba and Lunnon Road. No one was critically injured.
Sonop Chairman Neil van Heerden explained that the accident occurred when four second-year Sonop residents, who would prefer to remain anonymous, were following a white BMW in a blue Ford Ranger bakkie from the residence. Driving down Jan Shoba and turning sharply into Lunnon, they lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a wall.
Witnesses on the scene claimed that while on their way to main campus to prepare for a practical, they were nearly run over by a reckless driver coming around the corner too fast. They reportedly had to jump out of the way to avoid being hit.
The accident seemed to have been caused by the well-known practice of residents chasing anyone who hoots in front of the Sonop residence. Van Heerden stressed that this practice is not a Sonop tradition and is in no way encouraged by the House Committee members. He adds that their code of conduct explicitly says that residents of Sonop are instructed not to participate in this “tradition” and if they choose to do so, Sonop will accept no responsibility for any injuries or damages incurred by it.
The four Sonop residents who chose to chase the BMW that allegedly hooted in front of the residence followed the vehicle down Jan Shoba and proceeded to follow it left onto Lunnon Road. Van Heerden said that the driver made a judgement error, thinking he wasn’t going too fast, but as he turned the corner he felt the one side of the car lift as if it was about to flip over and attempted to correct it but lost control and went into a wall. “Consequently, the bakkie hit the curb and went through the wall of the Nedhill Building, inflicting serious damage to the property and the vehicle,” Van Heerden states in a press release.
Although there were two students standing on the back of the bakkie, there were no serious injuries. One student suffered a concussion and the others suffered minor bruising. “It was a miracle that there were no fatalities,” Van Heerden said. He also corrected false rumours that the driver was intoxicated, saying that there was no alcohol involved in the incident at all.
Van Heerden concluded that “definite steps will be taken by the relevant authorities to eradicate these kinds of dangerous activities that threaten to endanger the well-being of students in residence and at the University of Pretoria.”
Director of Security Services Colin Fouché and an official statement from the university explained that the place where the accident occurred was UP property. Members of the Department of Security Services were on the scene shortly after the incident to provide support. The Tshwane Metro Police were also on the scene.
Further details of the case are uncertain due to confidentiality clauses. The university commented that, “The incident is currently a formal South African Police Services matter and the facts surrounding the incident will form part of the police investigation.”