President Cyril Ramaphosa has expressed his devastation after 24 people died in a collision involving a minibus taxi and a bus on the R81 in Maphalle, in Limpopo on Sunday evening.
It is understood that the occupants of the minibus were returning from Youth Day celebrations that took place in Polokwane when the accident occurred at approximately 20:30.
"The deaths of these people is heart breaking. It is absolutely devastating to lose so many young lives in this manner. On behalf of the government and the people of South Africa, I send our deepest condolences to the bereaved families during this difficult time. Our thoughts and prayers are also with the injured, we wish them a speedy recovery," said President Ramaphosa in a statement.
In a statement issued earlier on Sunday, the Road Traffic Management Corporation said it was investigating at least three major crashes in which 36 people died over the long weekend.
It said the worst accident was the one in Maphalle.
"The crash happened on Sunday night when one of the drivers lost control of the vehicle and collided head-on with another one on a sharp curve," RTMC spokesperson Simon Zwane said.
He added that the RTMC and the police are investigating allegations that the minibus was overloaded with 10 people when the collision happened. Three people were injured.
'Obey rules of the road'
RTMC is also investigating an accident on the same stretch of road at Dingamanzi Village, between Giyani and Polokwane, where two vehicles collided in the early hours of Sunday morning. Six people were killed.
Six people also died when two cars collided on the R544 between Emalahleni and Verena. Among the dead were three children aged between 2 and 13 years old. Three people were injured
Ramaphosa said that government will not stop asking motorists to obey the rules of the road as long as people continue to die in road accidents.
The president has directed all affected authorities to promptly step up their actions to assist where necessary.