South Africa: 12 Schoolchildren and Driver Killed in Crash in Gauteng Province

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Local education officials reported that twelve children from two schools in Gauteng province tragically lost their lives. The incident occurred while the children were being transported to school.

At least twelve schoolchildren and the driver of their mini-bus tragically lost their lives in a road accident in South Africa's Gauteng province while en route to school, according to local officials on Wednesday. Additionally, seven other children were hospitalized for treatment.

The children were from two schools in Carletonville, located approximately 78 kilometers (48 miles) west of Johannesburg, stated Gauteng Minister for Education Matome Chiloane in a press release.

"This tragic event deeply saddens me. The loss of our children is a devastating blow to our community," expressed Chiloane.

The Gauteng Education Department reported that the vehicle carrying the children was reportedly rear-ended by a light pickup truck, causing it to overturn and catch fire.

While the specific ages of the children involved have not been disclosed, the schools typically enroll students aged between 6 and 13.

Despite having well-developed road infrastructure, South Africa ranks among the world's poorest in terms of road safety.

The Automobile Association (AA) of South Africa has previously described the country's annual road fatalities as a "national crisis."

According to AA figures released last year covering January 2022 to December 2022, 12,436 people lost their lives on South African roads during that period. This number was slightly lower than the 12,541 fatalities recorded in the same period in 2021.

In March, a bus carrying worshippers to an Easter weekend event plunged off a bridge, resulting in the deaths of 45 people.