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12 Children Killed in South Africa School Minibus Blaze

12 Children Killed in South Africa School Minibus Blaze
12 Children Killed in South Africa School Minibus Blaze

Twelve children were tragically killed on Wednesday when a minibus transporting them to school near Johannesburg, South Africa overturned and burst into flames after being hit by another vehicle, according to authorities.

The crash, which occurred in the Kokosi-Wedela area of Merafong, also claimed the life of the minibus driver. Seven other children were rushed to hospital, officials from Johannesburg’s Gauteng province reported.

The early morning accident left the minibus completely destroyed by fire. Television footage showed charred schoolbook pages scattered across the tarmac as police examined the scene. The Gauteng government confirmed the accident in a statement, noting that most of the victims were from a primary school, typically attended by students aged between six and 13.

“They were burnt beyond recognition. When this happens, forensics will have to do their part in terms of identification,” said police spokesman Sello Maremane.

Authorities said initial investigations suggest the minibus was struck from behind by a small pick-up truck, causing it to overturn and catch fire. The driver of the pick-up truck was also taken to the hospital. By late afternoon, most of the children who had been hospitalized were released, reports said.

“I am profoundly saddened by this tragic event,” said education minister Matome Chiloane at the scene of the incident.

South Africa, despite having one of the most developed road networks on the continent, suffers from one of the worst road safety records due to factors such as reckless driving and unroadworthy vehicles.

“I have always said to parents we need to check the condition of the vehicles that we put our kids in,” Chiloane emphasized.

Many South African parents depend on private minibuses to transport their children to school. President Cyril Ramaphosa offered his condolences and stressed the need for greater care in protecting children. “This tragedy, which regretfully is not the first of its kind to confront us, demands that we exercise our obligation to protect our children with the utmost care,” he said.

This incident is one of several devastating road accidents in South Africa this year. In March, 45 people were killed when a bus traveling from Botswana to Moria for an Easter pilgrimage plunged off a bridge into a ravine. In February, at least nine African National Congress party supporters died in a bus crash after attending an electoral rally.

In May, 13 people were killed in a head-on collision between a minibus taxi and a truck in Limpopo province.

This Article is Fact-Checked. See Policy.

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