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Road accidents claim 600 this month

Minister Dipuo Peters says the latest figures are shocking, calling for drivers to exercise caution.

Two people died when a truck crashed into a wall in Auckland Park, Johannesburg, 20 December 2013. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The latest festive season road death statistics have left traffic authorities stunned and worried.

On Friday, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters revealed the latest figures at a briefing in Johannesburg.

Since 1 December, she says, hundreds of deadly crashes have already occurred on the country's roads, claiming the lives of at least 600 people.

In one of the most recent accidents, a truck and a bus collided on the R61, 15 kilometres from Queenstown in the Eastern Cape, killing three people and leaving 25 commuters injured.

In one of the worst accidents so far, on 1 December, 14 people died during an accident near Klerksdorp in the North West.

"Dangerous overtaking, fatigue, massive speed and drinking and driving" are behind the majority of these accidents, Peters says.

The minister and other faith-based leaders also lit a candle at the briefing to remember the lives of those lost on the roads.

TRUCK ACCIDENT CLAIMS TWO

Meanwhile, two people have died after a truck crashed into a wall in Auckland Park in Johannesburg.

Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN.

Police and paramedics are on the scene trying to free the bodies from the wreckage of the vehicle.

Members of the public looked on as paramedics tried to extract two bodies from the truck.

Emergency Management Services' Robert Mulaudzi says the jaws of life were used.

"It was a difficult operation because we had to use our heavy duty rescue equipment."

Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN

One person survived after being cut out of the wreckage but they sustained multiple wounds.

Police are investigating the cause of the crash.

Mulaudzi has repeated calls from the transport department to be vigilant on the roads this festive season.