Six maidens have been killed and five others critically injured after a taxi they were travelling in overturned and caught fire on the R33 at Pomeroy in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.

It is believed that the driver lost control of the vehicle ahead of the incident which happened on Saturday night.

The maidens were travelling from an event in preparation for the annual Reed Dance which will be held at the Enyokeni Palace in Nongoma next month.

Police are investigating the cause of the crash. The KwaZulu-Natal Transport spokesperson Kwanele Ncalane says, “On behalf of the government of the province, the MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, we send our condolences to all the affected families and also the royal household because we know the significance of this ritual in the province of KwaZulu-Natal and in terms of nation-building.

“The MEC has also assigned a team of senior managers to make sure that they work out a plan that can ensure that moving forward, we inspect all vehicles that will be transporting maidens to the reed dance and the drivers themselves are checked if they are fit to be on the road,” Ncalane adds.

Meanwhile the King of the AmaZulu nation Goodwill Zwelithini has conveyed his condolences to the bereaved families. Royal Household spokesperson Prince Thulani Zulu has expressed shock about the fatal crash.