The ANC is in shock after 11 of its supporters were killed in a horrific crash yesterday morning.
The supporters from the Ekurhuleni region in Gauteng were returning from the party’s manifesto launch in Port Elizabeth at the weekend.
They died yesterday morning when the bus they were travelling in overturned after the driver lost control about 25km from Winburg towards Ventersberg on the N1.
The launch of the manifesto was held on Saturday at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
“This is indeed a sad day for all the structures of the ANC and the community of Ekurhuleni region. Our heartfelt condolences go out to families of the deceased and those injured,” the ANC Women’s League said in a statement.
The police, roads and transport department yesterday confirmed that one critical patient was airlifted to Bongani Hospital in Welkom and 20 other critical but stable passengers were also transported to the same hospital.
It reported that 38 passengers were wounded and transported to Winburg and Virginia hospitals.
“There were sadly 11 fatalities and all efforts are made to track and inform the next of kin of the deceased,” department spokesperson Hilary Mophethe said.
ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said senior party members had rushed to the scene to get more details as news filtered in of the tragedy.
“The ANC is still clarifying details about the accident and will issue further details once all pertinent information has been verified. Our thoughts are with the injured and bereaved at this time.”
Free State transport MEC Butana Komphela said the loss of life on the roads was heart breaking.
“The loss of one life on our roads is one too many,” Komphela said.
He also appealed to other drivers to be safe on the roads.
“We would also like to appeal to drivers to do the best they can to stay alert on the road. Avoid accidents and rest before embarking on journeys.”
In a statement Kodwa, said the party had learnt with sadness of the fatal bus accident carrying comrades.
“The ANC is still clarifying details about the accident and will issue further details once all pertinent information has been verified. Our thoughts are with the injured and bereaved at this time,” he said yesterday.
The Road Traffic Management Corporation said it had sent accident reconstruction experts to the scene of the bus crash.
By yesterday afternoon the deceased had not yet been identified, the RTMC said. It reported it would be working with other law enforcement authorities in the province to investigate the cause of the crash. “The RTMC sends its condolences to families of the deceased. Sympathies are also extended to those who have been injured and to the ANC as whole especially the Gauteng province and Ekurhuleni regional leadership,” the RTMC said.