Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - A memorial service for 24 young people who died in an accident while on their way from Youth Day commemorations in Polokwane will be held on Thursday.

Authorities said 19 of the 24 were pupils at four local schools in villages around Bolobedu, while the other five were community members. They were aged between 13 and 27. Eighteen were males and six females.

"A coordinating team comprising of government departments, the Mopani District Municipality, Greater Letaba Municipality, businesses, communities, traditional leaders were able to identify all the deceased and where they hail from. We thank stakeholders such as Santaco, ZZ2 and the Modjadji Plaza who made commitments to support these families during this trying time," said Greater Letaba mayor Peter Matlou

An overloaded Quantum minibus taxi carrying the youngsters collided head-on with a bus along the R81 road near Giyani on Sunday evening. The 24 young people were returning from Youth Day commemorations in Polokwane, addressed by President Cyril Ramaphosa. Only one passenger survived but was injured and taken to hospital. 

On Tuesday, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula met with traffic officers in Polokwane and lashed out at reckless drivers causing fatal accidents on the roads.

"Traffic officers should arrest anyone who disrespects the rules of the road. We, as road users, must start taking responsibility for our deeds on the roads. If you allow yourself to be driven by a drunk and reckless driver, you must know that the consequences are dire because you are in consent of that reckless behaviour." 

African News Agency/ANA