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Forty-five people were killed and an eight-year-old child, who was seriously injured, was the only survivor when a bus allegedly transporting people from Botswana to Moria crashed at the Mmamatlakala bridge on the R518 in Limpopo on Thursday morning.

It is alleged that the driver lost control, colliding with barriers on the bridge and careening into a gorge where it caught alight.

Transport minister Sindisiwe Chikunga extended her condolences to the families affected by the crash.

“I am sending my heartfelt condolences to the families affected by the tragic bus crash. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. We continue to urge responsible driving at all times with heightened alertness as more people are on our roads this Easter weekend,” Chikunga said.

She and Limpopo transport and community safety MEC Florence Radzilani were scheduled to conduct a road safety operation campaign at the Kranskop Toll Plaza when they received he news of the deadly crash.

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Radzilani’s spokesperson Vongani Chauke said the bus had 46 people on board, including the driver. The child was receiving medical attention at a nearby hospital.

“It has a Botswana registration number, and a process to confirm the citizenship of the victims will only commence after the foreign missions of both South Africa and Botswana had verified their citizenships,” Chauke said.

Chauke said rescue operations continued until the late hours of Thursday evening as some bodies were burnt beyond recognition, others were trapped inside the debris and others scattered on the scene.

Chikunga said the cause of the crash was under investigation.

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