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#ANCCrash: Bus company denies drivers were swapping seats

There were reports 2 drivers were swapping seats while driving & lost control, but this has been disputed.

ANC supporters in Katlehong to comfort the families of those who’ve lost their loved ones in bus crash on N1 on Sunday. Picture: Dineo Bendile/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - More details are emerging about what may have led to the deadly bus crash that claimed the lives of 10 people travelling home from the African National Congress (ANC)'s manifesto launch in Port Elizabeth, with the bus company saying the driver could have dozed off.

There were reports that two drivers were swapping seats while driving, but this is now being disputed.

The bus was travelling back to Katlehong on Sunday when it veered off the road on the N1 in the Free State and rolled several times.

Kabati Transport Services' Wesley Maringa says the police have conducted interviews, while they have been gathering their own information.

"The other driver confirms that he had seen the bus slowly moving off the road. The he jumped off from his far left seat to try and get closer to the steering wheel to wake up the other driver. By that time, it was too late to bring the bus back on line, it's not like the drivers were switching seats."

The bodies of the deceased will be returned to their families today.

The bodies are expected to arrive at the Germiston Mortuary at 10am.

The ANC's Paul Mashatile says they're supporting the families to ensure the victims are given a dignified burial.

"Provincial and regional leadership will work with families to prepare for the funerals."

Mashatile says it's unfortunate that the supporters were killed while attending the party's election manifesto launch.

"There was an opportunity for the leadership to visit the families, we didn't just want to leave this to the police because they went to an ANC event."

The ANC says a date for a joint memorial service will be announced soon.

ANC PAYS TRIBUTE TO VOLUNTEERS

While families of those killed in a fatal bus crash receive support from the ANC in Ekurhuleni, others have been encouraged to visit the city's joint operation centre for updates on their injured loved ones.

Yesterday the ANC visited the families of some victims who were killed when the bus travelling from the ANC manifesto launch in Port Elizabeth overturned on Sunday.

#ANCCrash ANC supporters in Katlehong are here to comfort the families of those who've lost their loved ones. DB pic.twitter.com/4yMgBiFDp0

The joint management centre is still open for those who want up-to-date information about their loved ones who may still be undergoing treatment at Free State hospitals.

A Katlehong resident, Njoni Nkonde, says he was in a panic when he realised his sister-in-law was inside the bus that overturned.

"I saw the bus on the news and had a feeling she was on it and when I received confirmation, I was so confused."

He is one of the people who have been assisted by the operation centre, where he has traced his sister-in-law's whereabouts and received an update on her condition.

Police in the Free State say some victims' bodies are yet to be identified, intensifying calls for families to check in with authorities.

FAMILY STRUGGLING TO ACCEPT THEIR LOSS

The family of an Ekurhuleni ANC supporter killed in the bus crash says they are shattered and struggling to accept their loss.

Gugulethu Sithole, aged 32, was one of at least 10 people killed in the crash.

#ANCCrash 32-year-old Gugulethu Sithole is one of those killed in the crash. DB pic.twitter.com/XJoi4WN1BQ

Free State police have confirmed that the crash was caused by two bus drivers swapping seats while the vehicle was moving, causing them to lose control.

Sithole's son struggled to hold back his tears as the family looked through pictures of his late mother.

His aunt, Joyce Sithole, says the family was in a panic after receiving a message on Sunday that their loved one was involved in the fatal accident.

"The family was shattered to be exact. We wanted to get there and ask, 'Are you sure it was her?'"

The City of Ekurhuleni has also made counseling services available to affected families and community members.

LISTEN: ANC Ekurhuleni volunteers involved in a bus crash.

STRONG ACTION PROMISED

Meanwhile, Kabati Transport has assured the families of the victims that a full investigation will be carried out and there'll be no leniency for anyone found guilty of negligence.

It has sent its condolences to the relatives of the volunteers and pledged assistance and support to their families.

#ANCBusCrash Owners of the bus, Kabati Transport Services issued a statement expressing their condolences #sabcnews pic.twitter.com/m6U884BqNV

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