Police car ‘taxis’: More proof

2008-10-09 00:00

The Witness has been inundated with e-mails from outraged readers who say they have again spotted a Msunduzi Municipality traffic vehicle still displaying an illegal yellow taxi sign in the back window.

This was after traffic officials said on Tuesday it might be a “joke”.

Readers also aired their disgust at the “abuse of municipal property”. One said a vehicle, registration NPC 3168, was on Wednesday displaying two illegal taxi signs in Chief Albert Luthuli (Commercial) Street.

“Is displaying taxi signs for their amusement or are the vehicles illegally operating as taxis?” said the reader.

People also said municipal employees transport their children to school and do their grocery shopping using municipal vehicles. One said an NPC vehicle was spotted transporting a bride, while another said that on Wednesday afternoon, he spotted a single-cab bakkie with number plates NPC 4399 carrying three adults and a child — none of them wearing a seatbelt. He asked if it is permitted for families to be transported in council property.

The metered taxi association’s vice chairman Junaid Sayed said the matter was discussed at their meeting this week. He confirmed that it is illegal to display a taxi sign without the necessary permit, but said he doubts traffic officers are picking up customers.

Msunduzi Municipality legal adviser Kas Thaver said council has a policy in place that does not allow the ferrying of family and friends.

If the vehicle has got passengers not employed by the municipality and is involved in a collision, no insurance claims will be submitted and the municipality will reject third party claims.

“The driver will be solely liable as he/she would be considered to have operated outside the course and scope of employment … ” he said.

The Witness was unable to contact acting manager for Public Safety Kenneth Chetty at the time of going to print as his cellphone was off.

However, an official at the traffic division said the traffic officers who display the taxi signs “will face disciplinary action because they were being negligent”.

thandom@witness.co.za

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