At least 19 people were killed a horrific taxi accident on Sunday,Â the KZN department of transportation has said.
According to a statement released by the department, the overloaded taxi hit a barrier close to KwaXimba, between Durban and Pietermaritzburg, and ploughed down a hill, rolling over several times, before coming to a halt.
Paramedics found the minibus lying on its roof, with 15 people dead inside. Three others died later at a nearby clinic.Â Seventeen of the deceased were women.
The minibus taxi, certified to carry 16 passengers, had 26 people on board including the driver.
“There were 26 people in the 16-seater minibus and the preliminary mechanical investigation revealed that the minibus had no brakes,” the department said.
The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) said they would be launching an investigation into the cause of the accident.
19 dead? 11 injured? Kanti how big was this taxi ðŸ¤” #pietermaritzburg
â€” Duchess of Bizana (@Lisa_Sodiya) August 20, 2017
The Department said that most of the passengers were on their way to church, when the accident took place.
â€œWhat is even more painful about this incident is that 17 of the deceased are women, and the crash occurred as the country celebrates the womenâ€™s month,â€ the MEC of Transport Mxolisi Kaunda said.
According to RTMC, 14 071 people died on South African roads in 2016. This was 9% more than in 2015.
Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal had the highest percentage of road deaths in the country.
The tragedy in KZN comes just months after another taxi accident claimed the lives of 18 children and two adults in Bronkhorstspruit.