Johannesburg - Seventeen taxi commuters were killed in two minibus crashes that happened a few hours apart in Gauteng and Mpumalanga on late Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning.
In the one crash, 10 people, including three school children - were killed when a taxi and and light motor vehicle collided on the Golden Highway in Eldorado Park.
ER24 paramedics spokesperson Russell Meiring said they arrived at the scene around 6.40am to find nine bodies scattered all over the scene.
"Fire fighters were already extracting the 10th body from the taxi," he said.
Meiring said they assessed the patients and found that 10 people, including three children under 10, had sustained fatal injuries. They were declared dead at the scene.
Ten people died when this taxi collided with a light motor vehicle on the Golden Highway in Eldorado Park.
"Several other patients were found with injuries ranging from minor to critical. The patients were treated and thereafter transported to nearby hospitals for urgent care."
Russell said it was not known how many people were in the light motor vehicle but that all the people who died were in the taxi.
He said the cause of accident was not yet known.
In another accident, seven people died and eight more were injured when a taxi travelling from Johanneburg to Mozambique crashed into a truck.
Mpumalanga police spokesperson Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said the crash occurred on Tuesday night around 11.30pm on the N4 in Hectorspruit, Mpumalanga.
The taxi driver may have lost control of his vehicle before crashing into the side of the truck, it was alleged.
"The taxi was reportedly travelling from Johannesburg to Mozambique when the crash took place. The victims were all from the taxi and they include the driver. The deceased are four women and three men.
"The injured include the driver of the truck. The cause of the crash is still unknown and the investigation is underway," he said.
The Mpumalanga MEC for Community Safety, Security and Liaison, Gabisile Shabalala, said she was deeply saddened by this latest crash and appealed on motorists to use the road safely.
This was after the driver of a bakkie carrying nine passengers and travelling towards Groblersdal lost control in the province last week.
The bakkie veered off the road and overturned. Five people, including the driver, were killed. All of the were related and on a way to a funeral in Limpopo.
Shabalala said the crashes were afflicting unbearable pain and untold suffering to many families.
"Billions of rands were lost annually to deal with the aftermath of these deadly crashes which are mostly preventable," she said.