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'Police fear the mafia SA taxi association'

2016-05-26 08:42

TAXI CRASHES: A total of 54 fatal mini-bus crashes, totalling 84 fatalities, were recorded in Gauteng during the first three months of 2016. The number of pedestrians killed is alarming. Image: Arrive Alive:

Johannesburg - Earlier in May, Wheels24 reported that a total of 54 fatal minibus crashes, totalling 84 fatalities, were recorded in Gauteng during the first three months of 2016. 

Since 2013, the province reports 648 minibus fatal crashes and 857 fatalities. Given the number of taxis used as public transport, the number of pedestrians killed is of great concern - 317. 

A report by the Gauteng provisional government reveals that almost the same number of pedestrians are killed as vehicle occupants: 85% of pedestrians killed in taxi related crashes occurred in urban areas, 43% of fatal non-pedestrian crashes occurred in urban areas, 25% on freeways, and 32% on main arterial roads.

Voting booth

We asked Wheels24 readers 'What do you think is the main cause of minibus taxi crashes?' and our survey garnered 27 341 votes.

Reckless driving 81% - 22 215 votes
Overloaded vehicles 2% - 468 votes
Unroadworthy taxis 11% -  3065 votes
Unlicensed drivers 6% - 1593 votes

The majority of readers (22 215 votes) believe reckless drivers are the main cause of minibus taxi crashes. According to our readers, the second highest cause of crashes are unroadworthy taxis (3065) followed by unlicensed drivers (1593) and overloaded vehicles (468).

Readers respond

John Calaca: They have no respect for the rules of the road and officers are too scared to approach them. My suggestion is to first start the demerit system on our public transport drivers of buses and taxis.

Bggl: Metro Police fear taxi associations and cannot enforce any discipline regarding road laws. Taxi owners must be taken to court and Government must handle it the organisation level. Commuters are scared and abused by drivers. It is not fair to them as customers.

Very stiff sentences are required. eNatis will not have any effect. Police should stop wasting time on petty offences by mostly honest drivers and focus on serious contraventions by Taxi drivers. You see it every day but nothing is done. Police fear the mafia SA taxi association. Introduce competition and stop restrictive route practices will also help. 

Pat Smith: Fatigue. In order to maximise the number of trips per day, drivers are sleep deprived and consequently become cognitively compromised.

Jaques Du Preez: It is absolutely ignorant taxi drivers chasing the money who think the road only belongs to them. The business should be regulated and drivers found disobeying the laws of the road must be removed.

G Coetzee: They are just plain reckless and there is no consequences for their actions. Everyone they kill should be seen as murder and be arrested for everyone fatality.

Portia Mkansi: I was in Tzaneen. I was leaving town and approaching the Magoebaskloof (a mountainous area). There was a vehicle flashing its lights at me. I did not stop as I was driving a car that is mostly used as a taxi (Toyota Condor).

READ: Taxi harassment in Tzaneen

Another vehicle approached on my right and indicated that they wanted me to stop. They were pushing me towards the right. I simply drove faster. They approached me at high speed. A vehicle at the front and another at the rear forced me to stop. In the two vehicles, there were five men.

One person from the the vehicle in front came out and told me to move to the left. I refused and moved my car in such a way that both sides of the road were blocked. Now there were vehicles everywhere and everyone was annoyed because of what was happening. 

Those guys were so angry and told me "Why am I not driving like a woman?", they identified themselves as the Pilusa Taxi Association and wanted to know who was driving this “taxi”. They stopped harassing me when another man came out with a gun and told them to stop.

'Lawlessness among minibus taxi drivers'

Arrive Alive editor, Johan Jonck, shares some insights: "From the comments received by the Arrive Alive website we find the frustrations among other road users when it comes to the lawlessness among minibus taxi drivers - especially when the drivers of these vehicles tend to disobey rules of the road in congested traffic.

"They are often seen doing yellow lane driving or disobeying traffic signs at stop streets and we regularly receive photos and video clips from road users of these actions.. they do not show much patience in congested traffic and the alarming number of head-on collisions is indeed a concern."

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Jonck continued: "The only way to address this is, on the one side strict and effective law enforcement  - and the continuous building on private public partnerships with industry leaders and the taxi associations...

"Out taxi commuters are worthy of protection and more should be done to protect them - it is not simply a question of "banning" these vehicles that are such an essential part of our transport industry... it is also easy to say that commuters must not ride along in an overloaded taxi - but it is not so easy if you are the passenger with limited other transport opportunities available," he concluded.

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