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Fatal ANC bus crash ‘robbed the party of future leaders’

The ANC says the victims of this tragic accident were all committed members of the party.

FILE: At least 10 people were killed on 17 April 2016 when the bus was returning to Gauteng from the ANC’s election manifesto in Port Elizabeth. Picture: YouTube screengrab.

JOHANNESBURG - The African National Congress (ANC) in Gauteng has described the deadly Free State bus crash, that claimed the lives of at least 10 of its members, as a major setback for the party that's robbed it of future potential leaders.

The ANC volunteers from Ekurhuleni were returning from the ruling party's election manifesto launch in Port Elizabeth when their bus overturned on the N1 yesterday.

More than 50 passengers were injured in the crash.

The ANC's Paul Mashatile says the victims of this tragic accident were all committed members of the party.

"Some of the comrades who have passed on, almost five of them, are actually leaders of the branch in this area."

The party's Mzandile Masina says they're currently working with authorities to establish what caused the accident.

"The ANC, as a caring organisation, has set up a number of teams that are working with families."

The provincial ruling party says they will ensure the victims are given dignified burials.

COUNSELLING

The City of Ekurhuleni says ward councillors have been put on standby to offer support to the families.

The city has set up a joint operations centre at the Palm Ridge Fire Station where the relatives can go for up-to-date information.

Ekurhuleni Metro spokesperson Themba Gadebe says counseling services will be made available.

"We've got counsellors on standby be able to assist families with receiving information and to go through that trauma with appropriate assistance from our side which is why we need to have this joint operation centre to coordinate all that help."

LISTEN: ANC Ekurhuleni volunteers involved in a bus crash.

'SWAPPING SEATS'

Free State police have confirmed the crash was caused by the two drivers swapping seats while the vehicle was in motion.

While it was initially believed driver fatigue was involved, it appears negligence may have played a role.

Free State police say a 31-year-old bus driver has been taken in for questioning regarding his apparent role.

A second driver is still in a being treated for injuries.

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