SA’s taxis of death

2014-12-14 08:00

They split open like a tin can in a crash and might even expose their passengers to carbon monoxide poisoning.

More than 4?000 Toyota Quantum panel vans on South Africa’s roads have been illegally converted into minibus taxis – and they continue to claim lives.

Before the release of a report by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela into the illegal and highly dangerous practice, City Press has spoken to those whose lives are shattered after they, or their loved ones, were involved in accidents in these vehicles.

Converted panel vans, which are not sufficiently reinforced to carry the weight of passengers, continue to be financed and resold.

Three years ago, former banker Hendrick De Beer laid a complaint at the Public Protector’s office. He sent the pictures and accident reports he sourced to investigators.

Between 2009 and last year, he matched taxi insurance claims to vehicle identification numbers to determine if the vehicles had been illegally converted.

His information shows there were at least 119 accidents – many of them fatal – involving converted panel vans since 2005.

The most recent known fatal accident involving a converted van took place in October last year on a trip from Malamulele, Limpopo, to Joburg. Taxi owner and driver Benneth Hlungwane said a nine-month-old baby had died in the crash.

» Get a copy of City Press newspaper today for more

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.