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Friday June 21, 2024

Road accident in South Africa claims 20 mine company employees

South Africa has one of most developed road networks on continent but also has one of worst road safety records

By Web Desk
September 18, 2023
Paramedics and emergency service personnel work on the scene of a diesel tanker crash on the N12 highway in Johannesburg, January 7, 2023. — AFP
 Paramedics and emergency service personnel work on the scene of a diesel tanker crash on the N12 highway in Johannesburg, January 7, 2023. — AFP

Authorities in South Africa said Sunday at least 20 people working for the mining company De Beers have been killed as their bus suffered a collision with a lorry in a border area of Zimbabwe, with officials ascertaining the cause of the incident.

The transport vehicle was carrying employees of the mining company from one of the biggest mines of the country Venetia Mine, according to a transport official in Limpopo province.

Vongani Chauke said: "The bus came into collision with a lorry."

Chauke told AFP the accident happened at around 1600 GMT, some 25 kilometres (15 miles) from the mine, at the village of Musian on the border with Zimbabwe.

South Africa has one of the most developed road networks on the continent but also has one of the worst road safety records.

The Venetia mine, which lies near the borders with Botswana and Zimbabwe, has been run by the De Beers group for more than 30 years.

It accounts for more than 40% of the country's annual diamond production, employing more than 4,300 staff including many local people.

It was once the country's largest open-cast mine before De Beers invested $2 billion in a major underground project to access the less easily available diamonds. The group aims to produce four million carats a year.

In July, De Beers announced the start of underground diamond production from the new seams opened underneath the open-cast mine.

The deadly accident comes months after a head-on collision between a bus and a cash-in-transit van claimed 20 lives in northern Limpopo province, leaving dozens injured.

After the crash the bus rolled from a bridge on the N1 freeway into a river below, said ER24, whose paramedics were on the scene.

"Three people were found deceased by the roadside and 16 down by the river - all were declared dead on arrival," ER24 had said in a statement. 

"One patient, of the 69 passengers confirmed transported to hospital for various injuries, has since died," it had said.

The Limpopo transport department had said the crash happened around 5 p.m. (1500 GMT) on Monday and that the bus was carrying passengers from the town of Makhado to areas in the province's Vhembe district.