KwaZulu-Natal has had a tragic start to the festive season. At least 22 people lost their lives in three separate crashes on the province’s roads within 14 hours.

The provincial government visited the crash scene on the N-2 near Empangeni on the North Coast where 15 people died in a head-on collision.

A minibus taxi and a car collided head-on and the vehicles burst into flames.  Fifteen people died a fiery death.

One of the victims was a woman who was seven months pregnant. She is believed to have suffered a miscarriage during the force of the impact.

Traffic officials say the car is believed to have overtaken a vehicle and crashed head-on into the minibus traxi which was returning to Jozini with guests who had attended a wedding at Port Durnford.

Four passengers survived and were taken to the Ngwelezane Hospital in Empangeni.

They sustained facial burns.

Authorities say driver tolerance could have prevented the crash.

In another crash, believed to be caused by driver error, seven people were killed, when a car made a u-turn and was hit by a bakkie at Appelsbosch, east of Pietermaritzburg.

In yet another incident on Saturday morning, a pedestrian was killed when he crossed the N-2 at Shaka’s Rock and was hit by a car.

Only on Saturday did the provincial government launch its festive season road safety programmes.

Motorists have been warned to obey the rules of the road or face the full might of the law.

In the Free State on Saturday, eight people died in a collision between a midi-bus and a truck on the N1 south of Bloemfontein and another four when a car and a truck collided on the R103 between Villiers and Cornelia.

In Gauteng, the police are investigating the circumstances around a collision on the R550 in Eikenhof, south of Johannesburg, in which three men were killed.

ER24’s Ross Campbell says four other people, including two children, were injured in the crash between a taxi and a car.

“All services were on the scene, including the fire department, to help stabilise and transport the injured. Two patients were taken to Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital and two young teenagers were taken to a private hospital in the area. Two occupants from the light motor vehicle and one from the taxi were unfortunately declared dead on the scene. The exact circumstances surrounding the incident are unknown to ER24.”

In Limpopo two were killed in a head on crash on the R518 near Masodi village in Limpopo.

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