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Zuma: Bus crash victims died for ANC

The president has addressed mourners in Vosloorus, where 9 ANC volunteers will be laid to rest.

President Jacob Zuma attended a funeral service for ANC volunteers who died in a bus crash near Windburg in the Free State in April 2016. Picture: @MYANC via Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma says the 10 African National Congress (ANC) volunteers who died in a bus crash, did so for the party.

Political leaders have joined scores of mourners on the East Rand, where nine of the 10 ANC volunteers will be laid to rest.

The party members were travelling back from the ANC's election manifesto launch in the Eastern Cape, when their bus crashed near Windburg in the Free State last weekend.

Zuma says all party members should ensure that the ANC delivers its promises.

"ANC representatives must honour their part of the contract by resolving the challenges that are faced by our people. In other words, if we call the people to vote for the ANC, we must deliver on what we have promised after the elections."

The president says the lives of the volunteers killed in the crash are equal to those of struggle stalwarts.

Zuma says they will now also be regarded as ancestors of the movement.

He thanked the families of the deceased for borrowing the party what he calls "people who gave their lives to the movement".

"The lives of these comrades are of equal worth to those who we now regard as ancestors of the ANC."

Zuma says they were selfless and gave their lives to serve the people of the country.

Nine coffins, draped in ANC colours, have been placed close to the stage where family and friends have come to pay their last respects.

One person will be buried in KwaZulu-Natal.

Ekurhuleni mayor Mondli Gungubele also addressed mourners and hailed the deceased as fallen heroes.

"To all South Africans in various categories, thank you for these heroes and for accompanying them in such a dignifying manner. To the families, may God give you that strength again and again."

Survivors of the bus crash are also attending the service today.

It's not yet clear what caused the crash, but investigators are trying to assess whether the bus driver fell asleep behind the steering wheel.

Free State police, however, say the two bus drivers tried to swap seats when the vehicle veered off the road.