The Zimbabwean government on Monday canceled the operating licence of the Mhunga Bus Company, whose vehicles have been involved in two multi-fatality accidents in the past three months, the latest being a head-on crash that killed 40 people on Sunday.

Announcing the cancellation of the company's permit on state television, Transport Minister Nicholas Goche said Mhunga buses "have claimed 70 people in three months. It is against this background that my ministry...concluded to finally withdraw their operating permit."

Mr. Goche ordered an inquiry into the accident on the notoriously dangerous highway from Harare to Masvingo, a provincial capital in the southeast, in which more than 30 people died on the spot with the count of fatalities according to police rising Monday to 40.

Another Mhunga bus plunged into a riverbed near Chivu in April, killing 29 people. 

Sources in Masvingo said angry mobs stoned Mhunga buses in the city Monday, leading the company to take its fleet off the road even before the government pulled its permit.

Mhunga Bus Company Transport Manager Elphas Masungwa told reporter Brenda Moyo of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the company was very sorry about the loss of life.

More news from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...