A bus transporting 44 passengers, most of them women and children, caught fire on the N1 highway near William Nicol on Wednesday morning.
According to JMPD spokesperson Wayne Minnaar, no injuries have been reported and passengers were being treated for smoke inhalation.
However, passengers lost all their belongings, and will be leaving the accident with nothing but the clothes on their back, said spokesperson for the ministry of transport, Ayanda Allie Paine.
Motorists can still expect heavy delays with traffic being diverted through William Nicol, past Witkoppen and Rivonia Road, and back onto the N1, Minnaar said.
If possible, alternative routes should be utilised.
The cause of the fire is not yet known.
Paine interviewed the owner of the bus, who was notified of the incident at about 7am.
The man, who is not named, told Paine that he believed the fire came from the left front tyre and quickly spread to the rest of the bus.
He said that although there was a fire extinguisher onboard, he thinks that due to the “ferocity of the fire”, one fire extinguisher would not have been enough to combat the blaze.
He confirmed that the bus was roadworthy, had all the necessary permits and insurance, and that it had been serviced.
He added that he has arranged for another bus to transport destitute passengers to their destination.
The co-driver of the bus told Paine that the front left tyre burst and that he and the driver found that the area of the bus began smoking.
At this point, all passengers were quickly escorted off the bus, at which point SAPS arrived at the scene and assisted them.
Paine said no injuries and fatalities were reported although the passengers lost all their goods. Most of them were travelling home for the festive season, after a year of saving up.
She said many of the passengers were women and children.
Paine appealed to the public for assistance with non-perishable goods and clothing.
Donations can be taken to The Golf Place Fourways.
“The passengers have been left destitute. They will be going home with nothing but the clothes on their backs,” Paine said.
Updates to follow as more information is made available.
(Additional reporting by News24 Wire)