Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga sent her condolences on Tuesday to the families of 17 people who died in a bus accident at the weekend.
"The minister is saddened by the fatalities, which included a school principal and two pupils," said spokeswoman Hope Mokgatlhe.
The pupils were on their way home from a sport event near Cradock in the Eastern Cape.
"Our hearts go out to the families of those who died. We wish a speedy recovery to all those who got injured."
Mokgatlhe sad the department would provide counselling to the families of the victims and to the pupils at their school.