KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Bheki Ntuli, has called on motorists to exercise extra caution on the roads.
Another fatal accident took place between Melmoth and Ulundi on Wednesday.
According to the department, the accident took place at approximately 8am. A minibus taxi collided head-on with a truck. Upon impact, the taxi caught alight, claiming the lives of 15 people from the taxi and the truck driver.
Three victims from the minibus taxi were burnt beyond recognition and DNA testing will have to be conducted to authenticate the remains of the deceased.
Ntuli visited the accident scene on Wednesday to inspect the impact of the accident and intervene in order to fast-track the process of investigation.
"This accident is one of the most gruesome accidents I have ever seen because 16 people perished, including a pregnant woman who delivered a stillborn infant on the scene.
"It pains me that families had to lose their loved ones, especially during October [which is] Transport Month...
"Road safety across all modes of transport is our top priority. Working with all spheres of government, we will implement interventions to improve legislation, intensify law enforcement operations across the province and promote driver behavioural change through road safety awareness campaigns.
"These interventions are intended to end the carnage on our roads," Ntuli said.
He expressed his sincere condolences to the families of the deceased and wished the five survivors in hospital a speedy recovery.
Investigations into the cause of the accident will focus on the roadworthiness of both vehicles, the weather conditions at the time of the accident, and other causal factors that could have led to the accident.
Ntuli said it is crucial for road users to be aware of the factors that contribute to road carnage, including speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
"We are committed to ending road carnage and will continue to ensure road safety in the province through strategic traffic enforcement, education and robust community engagement," Ntuli said.
The MEC further reassured the bereaved families that government will work tirelessly to process the DNA testing of the three victims, so that all families can find closure and bury their loved ones.
"The provincial government, working with local municipalities, will assist the families of the victims with funeral arrangements and psychosocial services."