South African President Jacob Zuma arrives at a memorial lecture after unveiling a statue of struggle veteran Harry Gwala in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma on Monday sent his condolences to the families of the 26 people who died in road accidents over the weekend and said it was unacceptable that so many lives were lost in this manner.

“We are saddened beyond words. It cannot be accepted that we lose so many of our people in such a horrific manner. We wish to convey our heartfelt condolences to families and relatives of all the victims. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families during this difficult period. We also wish the injured a speedy recovery," said President Zuma. 

Nineteen people died in an accident in KwaZimbaha near Pietermaritzburg on Sunday when a minibus crashed off a bridge and plunged 15 metres to an embankment and seven in Mookgophong near Waterberg in the Limpopo. The accident in Mookgophong left two people severely injured, one of them a child of five.

"We further call on all road users in the country to adhere to the rules of the road to avoid these unnecessary road carnages and loss of lives," Zuma said. 

"Government, working together with law enforcement authorities and other stakeholders, will intensify its programmes and efforts aimed at decreasing road crashes and ensuring that those who disobey the rules and regulations on our roads are punished severely by the law."