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S.African crash driver unlicensed

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JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (Reuters) -- The driver of a South African minibus that overturned on Wednesday, killing eight British tourists, did not have the correct type of license, authorities said on Friday.

In addition, a trailer being towed by the minibus did not have a proper braking system and was displaying an expired license, an investigation found.

"It was the experts' opinion that a combination of the drivers' license requirements and that the trailer was not fitted with the correct braking system could have contributed to the crash," said a statement from the Transport Department in northern KwaZulu-Natal province, where the accident occurred.

The tourists had been on a camping trip when the driver of the bus swerved in an attempt to avoid a pedestrian, who was also killed, and the vehicle overturned.

"Speed was also possibly a contributing factor," Transport Department spokesman Logan Maistry told Reuters, adding that the vehicle continued for 48 meters (yards) before overturning in a ditch.

The driver and five other tour group members, including one Canadian, survived the accident near the Royal Natal national park in KwaZulu-Natal's Drakensberg mountains.

The 23-year-old driver, Christopher Kamphert, did not have the correct type of professional license to drive the combination of minibus and trailer, the statement said.

A police spokesman said a decision on whether to charge the driver would be taken when the investigation is complete.

South Africa has some of the world's most dangerous roads, logging about 500,000 crashes each year in which an estimated 10,000 people are killed.

Copyright 2004 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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