accident scene, road accident, accident location
South Africa has one of the worst road safety records. (Illustrative image.) Image Credit: IANS

Johannesburg: Twelve children were killed in South Africa early Wednesday when a minibus taking them to school near Johannesburg overturned and caught fire after being hit by another vehicle, the government said.

The driver of the minibus was also killed and seven other children were rushed to hospital, the Gauteng provincial government said in a statement.

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It could not immediately give the ages of the children.

Television images showed that the minibus was totally destroyed by the fire in the early morning crash in Merafong, more than 70 kilometres west of the city.

The statement said "a private scholar transport minibus was involved in a tragic accident in the Kokosi-Wedela area in Merafong, claiming the lives of the 12 learners and their driver.

"Additionally, seven other learners have been rushed to a medical facility for urgent medical attention."

"I am profoundly saddened by this tragic event. The loss of our children is a devastating blow to our community, and our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the deceased and injured learners," Gauteng education minister Matome Chiloane said in the statement.

South Africa has one of the most developed road networks on the continent but also has one of the worst road safety records.