DURBAN: At least nine supporters of South Africa’s ruling ANC were killed in a bus crash as they were travelling home after attending a key electoral rally, police said on Sunday.

Road and traffic authorities said about 70 people were aboard the vehicle when it lost control and rolled over near the eastern town of Paulpieters­burg. Eight people were killed in the impact. A ninth died later in hospital, police said. Dozens were injured, several critically, authorities said.

The victims were among the tens of thousands of people that crowded into a football stadium in Durban on Saturday for the launch of the African National Congress’s election manifesto.

Many were bussed in from across South Africa by the party, a common political practice in the country.

The accident happened early on Sunday morning when the bus was taking some supporters back to the northeastern province of Mpumalanga, authorities said. “It is a true tragedy that there be such a loss of lives after such a memorable day,” the ANC said. It sent its condolences to the families of those killed.

President Cyril Ramap­hosa launched the ANC’s electoral campaign on Saturday, promising to create jobs and end crippling power cuts.

The party is struggling in the polls after three decades in power amid anger over high unemployment and a sluggish economy. South Africans vote in national and provincial elections on May 29.

Published in Dawn, February 26th, 2024

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