Pretoria - Deputy Transport Minister, Jeremy Cronin, has expressed condolences to the family and friends of the 18 people who died in two fatal road crashes.
"We want to convey our condolences to all the families and relatives of those killed in road crashes in the past 24 hours. We wish those injured a speedy recovery. Our thoughts and prayers are with them all during these difficult moments," said Cronin in a statement.
Ten people were burnt to death after a bus collided with a truck on the notorious Moloto Road (R573) between Pretoria and KwaMhlanga on Thursday night.
According to preliminary reports, both vehicles burst into flames after impact and many of the deceased were burnt beyond recognition. More than 30 people sustained various injuries and were rushed to the local hospitals.
In the early hours of Friday morning, eight people died and several others were injured in a crash involving three trucks and a mini-bus taxi on the N3 highway between Harrismith and Van Reenen's Pass in the Free State.
The department has dispatched a team to the scene of accident investigation and reconstruction specialists to assist in the investigation of these crashes.
The deputy minister has urged all road users to exercise extreme caution on the roads as the festive season approaches.
"Traffic volumes on our roads will increase and we urge all road users to exercise extreme caution on the roads and obey all road rules. Traffic officers will be out in full force on the roads during the festive season and those who break the law will be dealt with severely," he said.
He also made a special plea to public transport operators to ensure that their vehicles are roadworthy and that they do not put the lives of innocent commuters at risk.