South African President Jacob Zuma has ordered law enforcement agencies to swiftly investigate the cause of the horror accident that killed 19 pupils in the town of Bronkhorstspruit at the weekend.The school children, who attended Refano Primary School and Mahlenga High School, perished when their minibus taxi collided head-on with a truck and caught fire on the spot in the town just outside Pretoria on Friday.
Several children were burnt beyond recognition due to the fire, and DNA tests are being conducted to identify the charred remains.
The seven children who survived the accident were taken to various hospitals, where three of them are said to be in critical condition.
“This is a sad and painful tragedy, taking place just when the country is coming to terms with 156 lives lost during the Easter weekend.
“On behalf of government and all South Africans we extend our heartfelt condolences to families of the leaners, relatives and friends,” Zuma said.
The president also called on all road users in the country to be more vigilant and adhere to the road rules and take safety precautions seriously to avoid unnecessary loss of life.
A senior Basic Education Ministry official told ENCA-TV on Monday morning that the accident was due to failure to observe road traffic rules by the bus driver, who did not survive the accident.