The South African government said it was saddened by the deaths of four children who died when their minibus taxi collided with a bus crashed in Ntuzuma, KwaZulu-Natal, on Wednesday, the opening day of the 2017 school year across the country.
According to media reports, 13 people were injured in the incident.
In a statement, Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) Acting Director-General, Donald Liphoko said government conveys its deepest condolences to the bereaved families.
“We wish all injured a speedy recovery,” said Liphoko.
Liphoko said government is calling on all road users to play their part in moving South Africa forward by being responsible on the roads and reducing the high number of deaths.
“Road safety is everyone’s responsibility. As we begin the new year let us commit to obeying the rules, reducing our speed, and not drinking and texting while driving.”
According to the festive season and road crash figures, fatalities increased by five percent for the 2016/17 festive season, compared to the previous period.
Transport Minister Dipuo Peters said a total of 1,714 fatalities were recorded in the past festive period.
“As individuals and as a nation we need to stop tolerating and accepting negligent and irresponsible behavior on our roads. We need to work with the authorities to curb the high number of deaths on the roads. The loss of one life, is one too many,” Peters said at the time.
Liphoko has encouraged motorists to obey the rules of the road to avoid the loss of life, injury, loss of income and assets that result from incidents on the country’s roads.
“In the 3rd National Road Safety Summit, held in November 2016, it was revealed that negative impact of road crashes to the economy translated to 3.4% of South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” said Liphoko.
“The economic impact of accidents and road deaths play a significant part towards achieving the National Development’s Plan Vision 2030 which seeks to bolster the economy and address unemployment, poverty and inequality.”
Liphoko said South Africa needs to work harder to achieve the goal of the Decade of Action for Road Safety which is to curb the carnage on the roads by half before 2020.
-African News Agency