“A car carrying five correctional officials had a head-on collision with a… police car, leaving the six officials… dead, five of them on the accident scene while the sixth was declared dead on arrival at hospital,” spokesman Lawrence Ngoveni said in a statement.
“The police car driver was alone and died on the spot alongside four correctional officials.”
The accident happened around five kilometres outside the Rooigrond correctional centre on the R501, near Mahikeng, around 3pm on Monday afternoon.
Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha said: “I am shocked and pained by this tragic accident. It has tragically cut short the lives of our correctional officials and a policeman, leaving their families grappling with this immense loss.
“We are left poorer as the criminal justice system as a whole, because these officials together had given decades of invaluable experience in delivering correctional and security services to our people.”
Masutha said the security cluster sent its heartfelt condolences to the families of those who died.
Correctional services acting national commissioner Nontsikelelo Jolingana said: “The whole correctional services family is joining the families of these officials in mourning their tragic loss.
“This has left Rooigrond and North West correctional officials devastated and asking questions that none of us can answer. We will do our best to support the families of the deceased officials as well as their colleagues.”
Ngoveni said the names of those killed would be released once their next of kin had been informed.
North West police confirmed the incident and said cases of culpable homicide were being investigated.
“Two vehicles collided and six persons died along Lichtenburg-Mahikeng road…on Monday at around 2.30pm,” said Colonel Sabata Mokgwabone.
“The cause of the collision is not yet known.”
North West police commissioner, Lt-Gen Zukiswa Mbombo sent his condolences to the families.
“Our hearts are with the families of all deceased during this difficult time,” he said.
“An investigation into the matter continues.”