At least 22 people have been killed in road crashes in a tragic weekend on KwaZulu-Natal’s roads.

A crash on Friday night in Ladysmith in northern KwaZulu-Natal claimed the lives of four people after a bakkie rolled on the S61 near Besters. In a separate accident in Ladysmith on Saturday, a motorcyclist was killed in a hit-and-run.

At Donnybrook on Friday, four people were killed when the driver lost control of a car.

In a horror crash late on Saturday in southern KwaZulu-Natal, a minibus taxi crashed down an embankment killing 12 members of the same family. One of the three injured occupants died in hospital later. It’s believed the driver lost control of the vehicle after failing to negotiate a bend in the road.

KZN minibus taxi crash between Underberg and Bulwer claims 12 lives:

The mangled wreckage at the crash scene tells the grim tale of the horror that enfolded. Members of the Mndali family were returning home from a cultural ceremony when tragedy struck.

The vehicle rolled several times and its roof was ripped off. Eye witnesses couldn’t believe what they saw.

“We heard a big bang and we noticed a taxi crashing to the rocks next to the road and people were flung out the windows,” said one eyewitness.

“We waited for more than 45 minutes for ambulances. Maybe some member would have been helped,” said another eyewitness.

12 occupants of the taxi were declared dead at the scene. Another family member died in hospital later, while two others are in a critical condition in hospital.

The Mndali family is devastated.

Mbongeleni Mndali lost his wife Nobuhle, who was 35, his brother Sandile who was 36 and his two-year-old grand-daughter Enzokuhle.

“We are deeply hurt by the incident. What hurts the most is all the deceased are related. We urge government to assist us, we do not have means to cope with the incident. The family had a cleansing ceremony after one of their relatives had lost her husband. All the deceased were part of the ceremony. We are devastated.”

Another family member, Thokoza Mndali whose wife died, had just gotten married the day before the accident.

“We went to Ixopo for our wedding and on Saturday. She went for a ceremony, but later I was called that they were involved in an accident.”

Government offers support

Government visited the family of the victims and offered assistance with bereavement counselling and funeral arrangements.

Minister of Cogta Nkosaza Dlamini-Zuma says the accident is a tragedy.

“It’s an unusual accident in the sense that all the people who died belonged to the same family. There are 13 of them who have passed away now and two are critical in hospital. And they all belong to the same family. They were just telling us that in this particular yard, there are five people who died and the next one there are three they are counting. It’s a real tragedy.”

Investigations into the cause of the crash are underway.