Statement by President Nelson Mandela on the accident in Newcastle that claimed the lives of 31 people including 27 school children

16 April 1998

It is with a deep sense of shock and sorrow that we have learnt of the death of 31 people, including 27 children, in a road accident in Newcastle yesterday.

That the accident should happen when we have seen a reduction in road deaths over the Easter Weekend as a result of the Arrive Alive campaign only serves to deepen the profound sense of loss that we experience. It underlines the need for a continuous, all year, effort to make our roads safer.

We are deeply saddened that so many young lives, especially children returning from school in their school bus, and many still unidentified should be lost in such a manner.

We wish to express our condolences to the 31 bereaved families, and assure them of our support during this, one of their darkest moments, as they struggle to come to terms with the loss of their loved ones.

Our thoughts are with those 50 people who are injured and in hospital.

We wish them a speedy recovery, and also assure them of our love and support.

We also wish to convey our sincere gratitude to the medical staff and rescue personnel who played such a sterling role in the aftermath of the accident.

We appeal to all communities to support the affected families of Madadeni and Newcastle during this trying time.

Issued by: Office of the President

Source: South African Government Information Website