902 A crime scene expert takes pictures of the scene on 7th street in Linden where 3 men tried to hijack a woman after a chase with the police that started in Robindale. 190208. Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu

Johannesburg - Transport Minister Dipuo Peters has ordered a high-level investigation into a bus accident that killed 29 people, the department of transport said on Tuesday.

“The investigation team consists of the Road Traffic Management Corporation and traffic authorities in Mpumalanga,” said spokesman Tiyani Rikhotso.

Twenty-nine people were killed when a bus and a truck collided on the Moloto road near Kwaggafontein on Monday night.

Rikhotso said the team would investigate the cause of the accident and recommend interventions to prevent a repeat.

The department would also go ahead with plans to expand the Moloto road and reduce the number of trucks on the road.

“We are looking into moving the transportation of heavy goods from road to rail to reduce the number of trucks on the road networks,” said Rikhotso.

He said Peters sent her condolences to the bereaved families and wished the injured a speedy recovery.

The Mpumalanga safety department said 26 people were killed on the scene and three were dead on arrival at KwaMhlanga Hospital. Eight people were critically injured.

Department spokesman Joseph Mabuza said the accident happened when a truck collided with a stationary bus.

“The truck driver did not see the bus until it was too late. The truck driver swerved to the right to try and avoid the bus,” he said.

The bus company Putco confirmed on Tuesday morning that the bus involved belonged to them.

Spokesman Romeo More also confirmed that the bus driver was among those killed.

“Putco's managing director, Franco Pisapia, expressed his shock at the horrific accident,” More said.

He said the company had sent officials to visit the injured and help where possible.

“A full investigation is under way to determine the exact cause of the accident and Putco will co-operate fully with authorities in this regard.”

Acting government spokeswoman Phumla Williams said the government was deeply saddened and also sent deepest condolences to the families involved.

“Government is saddened by the unfortunate loss of lives in this tragic incident. Our thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved families. We wish all the injured a speedy recovery,” she said.

“Courtesy, patience and abiding by the rules of the road will play a significant role in reducing road accidents,” she added. - Sapa