RESIDENTS of Mpumalanga township, west of Durban, woke up to a horrific bus crash yesterday five people, including two teenagers, were killed in a bakkie.
The two teenagers died instantly in the head-on collision between a KZNT bus and a bakkie in the Hammarsdale industrial area at about 4.30am.
"Five people lost their lives due to the severity of their injuries," said Chris Botha of Netcare 911. "Two of the dead were teenagers aged about 13," .
"Three passengers were critically injured and taken to the RK Khan Hospital."
Botha said emergency teams battled for more than an hour to cut the victims free from the vehicles.
The bakkie was carrying six passengers.
Authorities are still investigating the cause of accident and have not yet released the victims' names.
"The transport law does not allow bakkies to transport people," said transport and community safety MEC Bheki Cele.
"We will crack the whip at bakkies owners."
Cele also criticised drivers of large vehicles, such as buses and trucks, who had no respect for other motorists.
"Parents should also take full responsibility for their children's lives," he said. "Children should not be packed in bakkies like sardines. Bakkies are not made to transport people."
Cele called on the education department to provide safe transport for children travelling to schools.
Senior Superintendent Joyce Khuzwayo of the Metro Police said the bus driver apparently lost control and collided with the oncoming bakkie. She said police had opened a case of culpable homicide.
"Three passengers in the bus were injured," she said.