Picture: Rescue Care
Durban - The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) is investigating at least three major crashes on South Africa’s roads following the deaths of least 40 people over the long weekend.

The worst collision claimed at least 24 lives when a minibus and a bus collided on the R81 near Maphalle village, Mopani district, in Limpopo on Sunday night. The deceased included children aged between 2 and 13 years.

The RTMC and police said they would investigate allegations that the minibus was overloaded when the collision occurred. This resulted in 24 fatalities from the minibus and three injuries from the bus.

Six other people were burnt beyond recognition and died on the same stretch of road at Dingamanzi Village, between Giyani and Polokwane, when two vehicles collided early on Sunday morning.

The Deputy Minister of Transport, Dikeledi Magadzi, Limpopo MEC for Transport and Community Safety, Dickson Masemola, MEC for Health Dr Phophi Ramathuba and MEC for Social Development, Nkakareng Rakgoale, have met the families of those who lost their lives.

The spokesperson for the ministry of transport, Ayanda-Allie Paine, said support for the funeral arrangements had been offered as well as medical assistance for the injured.

Paine added that Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula would be in Limpopo today to address the provincial traffic authorities on the spate of fatal crashes in the area.

In KwaZulu-Natal, four people were killed and 31 injured in separate incidents over the long weekend.

“This was the bloodiest weekend we have experienced and it again points to recklessness and negligence by drivers,” said Road Traffic Management Corporation chief executive Advocate Makhosini Msibi.

Two people were killed and eight others injured when a taxi crashed into a tree off the R600 in Winterton on Friday. On Sunday night, one person died and four others were injured in a head-on collision on the M1 Higginson Highway near Shallcross.

One person was killed and a baby and three others sustained serious injuries on the M1 Higginson Highway near Savannah Park on Sunday.

Allie-Paine described the crashes as “devastating”.

“What was meant to be a joyous long weekend has been marred by heartbreaking crashes. One never thinks it’ll happen to them until it does,” she said.

The Mercury