Johannesburg - Political parties expressed shock on Tuesday about the deaths of 29 people in a bus accident on the Moloto road near Kwaggafontein in Mpumalanga.
“The ANC sends its heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the deceased,” said Jackson Mthembu, spokesman for the African National Congress, which said it was saddened by the deaths.
“It is our hope that the support of the nation during this difficult time will make their burden of grief just that little lighter to bear.”
Twenty-nine people died and 30 were injured when a bus and a truck collided on Monday night.
The ANC called on all road users to be careful on the roads.
“We support the call by the department of transport for united action to make our roads safe and we hope all South Africans will commit themselves to this important cause,” said Mthembu.
The African Christian Democratic Party said the investigation into the accident should determine whether the bus was overloaded.
“Our hearts go out to the families of victims... We also pray for a speedy recovery for those passengers who are severely injured in hospital,” said spokeswoman Cheryllyn Dudley.
“We call on traffic authorities to launch an investigation into the cause of this tragic accident, and to determine whether there was a possibility that the bus was overloaded or unroadworthy.”
She said about 50 000 people commuted to work in Pretoria daily along the narrow and potholed Moloto road, the R573, in 635 buses. The road passes the town of Moloto, which is about 60km north-east of Pretoria.
Transport Minister Dipuo Peters said a team would investigate the accident.
It would consist of officials from the transport department, the Road Traffic Management Corporation and the Mpumalanga government.
“The team's brief is not limited to determining what caused the crash, but also includes coming up with proposed interventions to ensure the prevention of a further recurrence,” Peters said.
Bus company Putco confirmed on Tuesday morning that the bus involved was from its fleet.
Spokesman Romeo More said the bus driver was among those killed.
“Putco's managing director Franco Pisapia expressed his shock at the horrific accident,” he said.
“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.”