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South Africa: 12 schoolchildren and driver killed in crash

Kieran Burke
July 10, 2024

Local education officials said 12 children from two schools in Gauteng province were killed. The incident took place as the children were being driven to school.

File picture of a minibus taxi near Johannesburg, South Africa
Local officials said a minibus, similar to the one pictured, was transporting children to school when it was allegedly struck from behind, causing it to overturn and catch fireImage: Jerome Delay/AP Photo/picture alliance

At least 12 schoolchildren and the driver of their mini-bus were killed in a road crash in South Africa's Gauteng province as they were going to school, local officials said on Wednesday. Seven other children were brought to a hospital for treatment.

The children came from two schools in Carletonville, situated around 78 kilometers (48 miles) west of Johannesburg, Gauteng Minister for Education Matome Chiloane said in a statement.

School transport allegedly struck from behind

"I am profoundly saddened by this tragic event. The loss of our children is a devastating blow to our community," said Chiloane. 

The Gauteng Education Department said the vehicle carrying the children was allegedly struck from behind by a light pickup truck, causing the vehicle to overturn, where it then caught fire.

The ages of the children involved are not yet known, although the schools they attended typically enroll children between the ages of 6 to 13.

South Africa has well developed road infrastructure, but it also ranks among the world's worst for road safety.

South Africa's Automobile Association (AA) has previously referred  to the country's annual road fatality statistics as "a national crisis."

In figures the AA released last year, dealing with January 2022 to December 2022, 12,436 people died on the country's roads during that period.

That was only marginally lower than the 12,541 people who died during the same period in 2021.

In March, a bus transporting worshippers to an Easter weekend event, plunged off a bridge, killing 45 people.

kb/sms (AFP, DW sources)