So it was when a South African minibus taxi literally attempted to squeeze its way through the impossibly small space between my lane and the one next me, almost scraping the side of my car off, that I realised this cannot possibly go on. Things like this happen on an everyday basis, but it takes one small cherry on top of the big melting cake to push it over the edge, landing up smashed on the floor.
We all complain about the unacceptable behavior of the minibus taxis on our South African roads, but do we ever do anything about it, or try to bring about change in this regard? The fact of the matter is, that we cannot continue to live with their recklessness and disregard for fellow drivers on the road around them. Something needs to be done. Packing up and leaving the country, like so many do, is the lazy way out. (Now some of you may argue with me on that, but I believe in persevering and not giving up on a country) I am sick of complaining and doing nothing about this problem that risks our lives everyday. South Africa is one of the most beautiful countries in our world, and I am not about to let one bunch of Neanderthals ruin my life here.
I don't know about my fellow South Africans reading this, but I am on the verge of starting a petition - a petition to shove in our government's lazy faces, that insists on the assessment of our taxi drivers: Ability to drive, their recklessness on the road, danger to fellow drivers around them (Vehicle damage as well as our lives) their complete disregard, failure to follow the rules and laws of the road, stopping in the most inappropriate and inconvenient places in the middle of the road, mistreatment and misdirected anger, inappropriate hooting for no specific reason (used as a mechanism to greet friends or passing people) failure to ever use the contraption we call an indicator, failure to recognize when it is someone else's right of way, and complete lack of road worthiness of their vehicles. If any taxi is in any violation whatsoever, drivers must have the permission to take their registration, report them, and have them removed from the road. And last but not least (And probably the most important) Do they possess licences? If so, are they valid and legal or were they bought illegally? Also, if they possess a licence, is it the appropriate one for the class of vehicle? Do they have public liability insurance? Why do so many taxi drivers immediately flee the scene after in accident, making it impossible to track the culprit as there are a million and one taxis on our roads?
On the other side of the fence, the biggest thing about Taxi’s is their convenience for the market, and the fact that the system has been around for so long and does work. People know the hand signals, the times, the places to go etc. It would be absolutely impossible to abolish the system, albeit we would live much safer and calmer lives if it were. The reason they drive in the disturbing manner that they do is also because there are bigger bosses that we do not know or see, who need to be paid at the end of the day. Taxi drivers need to make as much money as possible in one day – which entails driving as fast as possible to transport as many people as possible – unfortunate as it is to the rest of us. Assuming we cannot get rid of the system, all we have left is to improve it however possible. The government needs to assess the taxi business, and correct it. They need to clean up the taxis, giving new ones if necessary, and remove any taxi driver from the road who is found to be un-roadworthy according to my abovementioned guidelines.
I am sick of witnessing accidents every day that are caused by taxis. I am sick of reading the news and hearing about another innocent driver killed in a collision caused by the recklessness of a taxi. I am sick of living in fear for my own life and my family's. I am sick of putting up with it and just accepting that it's how it is. No more. Now for my big question: Who's with me?