28 killed in Harrismith crash

2011-12-10 08:06

Johannesburg - Twenty-eight people - including a number of children and infants - were killed when the minibus they were travelling in collided head on with a truck on the N3 just outside Harrismith early on Saturday morning, paramedics said.

The overloaded taxi - carrying 37 people - crashed into the truck at about 03:00, said Netcare 911 spokesperson Jeffrey Wicks.

Paramedics arrived and pronounced 28 people dead on the scene.

Wicks said that children and babies were among the dead, but could not give further details.

Two people were critically injured, six were seriously injured and one person sustained only minor injuries.

The cause of the accident was unclear. Police were investigating.

  • Poloyatonki - 2011-12-10 08:19

    How do you put 37 people in a taxi, the is so stupid. anyway why do i even care.

      Pieter - 2011-12-10 08:23

      You care, because you might next time be the vehicle that the taxi collides with. They don't care that is why they do such things.

      Poloyatonki - 2011-12-10 08:49

      And our so called traffic officials are scared of taxi bosses, even the police themselves are scared. Even the passengers themselves dont care about their own safety. When will it end?

      Johann - 2011-12-10 09:01

      The fact that you do not care is your call Poly, as for the rest of us we care, a lot of inocent people died, a over loaded out of control taxi can take me ,or a loved one out. I DO CARE POLY!! ( don't you want to think before you comment?)

      Poloyatonki - 2011-12-10 09:11

      Steve.. We have less trucks involve in accidents than taxis so there are 99.9% chances that it was the taxi's fault. Scenario 4= The taxi was NOT roadworthy Scenario 5= The taxi driver have been driving with out taking a rest.

      Hugh - 2011-12-10 10:47

      It is obvious to all but a governemnt that is too brianless to work out why we have a high road death or injury rate. To cap it all, experience shows that because they lack the political they cannot point a finger at the black taxi association or its memeber, Government will develop some all encompassing laws that inconvenience and criminalise the rest of the safe driving fraternity.

      Janice - 2011-12-10 15:13

      F*CK man!!! Have a bloody heart!!!

      nhla.prv - 2011-12-10 20:26

      Its probably the big ones ,the 40 seater.

      Call_Of_Muti_3 - 2011-12-10 21:42

      Typical African logic, that is how you put 37 people in a taxi.

      Anthony - 2011-12-11 13:57

      if the government don,t give a f**k why should we???????

  • Chum Scrubber - 2011-12-10 08:19

    Taxi involved? Who would ever have thought?

      colin.dovey - 2011-12-10 08:59

      The lethal mix on SA roads: 1. T for Taxis and Toxic Drivers who don't really care how they drive, and about others on the roads. 2. T for Trucks - and Terribly trained drivers, who lane jump and do not fasten their loads 3. T for Time of the Year, and inToxication 4. T for Traffic Cops who are not patrolling the roads, but rather sitting behind cameras.

  • nicn44 - 2011-12-10 08:20

    Minister of transport just not coming down on these guys hard enough.He has no problem detaining a bus & passengers, but shys away when it's a taxi

      Serena - 2011-12-10 08:36

      They are scared of the taxi industry. Or maybe they own a couple of taxis!

      Chum Scrubber - 2011-12-10 08:39

      They own a couple more like methinks ...

      Jo - 2011-12-10 09:48

      I put in charge 6 month's the German traffic law enforcement police and this road carnage will stop. I think however that you have to icrease the court capacity. This before the holidays and the people killed makes me sad. I feel fore the people left behind, God bless. JO

  • Larry - 2011-12-10 08:22

    What a tragedy. The sily season is now well under way.

  • Franna16 - 2011-12-10 08:23

    There is always a taxi involved. They (ANC) wants to reduce the speed limit but all they need to do is get these people off the road.

      Pierre - 2011-12-10 08:33

      The problem is not the speed limit. It just shows another knee jerk reaction from the ANC. Anyway no new laws will work, as, if you increase the penalties the bribes you pay the traffic police get higher. It remains CATCH 22

  • Facts - 2011-12-10 08:23

    37 people in a taxi! How do you get that right? Unbelievable and only in Africa.

  • Kate - 2011-12-10 08:24

    Silly season here we come!! Taxi's get away with murder (pun, not intended) Pound these idiots at the tolls.

  • Elizabeth - 2011-12-10 08:24

    shocking - how do you fit 37 people into a taxi - the driver should be up for murder -

  • Phumezo - 2011-12-10 08:25

    Till the day that this country is ran by a leadership that values African and black peoples in particular's life we will never get anywhere! What we have now is leaders who are driven by self-hate and would trade their souls to be white people! If we valued our peoples lives (blacks) we wouldnt have taxis today! Why SAA is running better than the Noord taxi rank? Yes! You have guessed it right it carries white people! Oh! I am longing for the day that the likes of Solomon Mahlangu and Chris Hani's of this world can wake up from their graves and see what the likes of Mandelas and the Tutu's turned our beautiful country to be!

      Neville - 2011-12-10 08:39

      You are so right my friend ,maybe their families are not using the taxi, now the minister will come out of his hole and make a sad statement like someone who cares, then go back into his hole until another tragedy happen

      Jeanine - 2011-12-10 08:41

      Please leave the "white people" out of this - The blame lays directly with the Transport Minister, and not with the colour of people!

      Chum Scrubber - 2011-12-10 08:45

      Black people seem to tolerate the taxi industry though Phumezo, never see you guys toyi toying against them or standing up to them. But you prefer to blame us as usual, the reason we travel is safety is we don't tolerate abuse. Time for you guys to stand up for yourselves and stop blaming "whites" for all your problems. It gets a bit boring. By the way, your leaders are driven by self enrichment, not self hate.

      keith.staniford - 2011-12-10 08:47

      That's right Phumezo turn it into a racial issue as usual, a black taxi driven by a black driver with black passengers hits a truck driven by a black driver and its the white man's fault.It's the black man who doesn't value peoples lives, black or white. 19 years in power and we,ve gone back 40 years. Grow up!, shut up! get yourself educated and then come back and make comments that have a modicom of sense.

      Kenny - 2011-12-10 08:57

      Hey phumezo, you must really be upset that you are not a whitie, you can use your R570 000 bonus you got from Kumba iron ore and go pull a michael jackson on yourself, then you can remove that 50kg chip of your shoulder.

      Marion - 2011-12-10 09:05

      @Phumezo. Your logic escapes me. I think it escaped you too somewhere. All life is precious. You say 'the Mandela's and Tutu's turned our beautiful country to be'! Are you therefore saying that apartheid was better 'cos that, in case you have forgotten, is what existed before the Mandela's and Tutu's took over.

      Gail - 2011-12-10 15:36

      I may be misunderstanding your post Phumezo but I think you were not blaming white people for this state of affairs but rather black people themselves. The current leaders are only good at organising banquets and spending money on luxuries for their inner circle. They are the reason we have taxi's today since during the apartheid years the librators targetted public transport in the form of buses and trains because they were used to carry troops amongst other things. Rolling stock in the form of trainn carriages are incredibly expensive and once destroyed almost impossible to buy. This created a need for an alternative form of transport to ferry people to work and secret meetings etc and thus was the taxi industry born and it has become a law unto itself. Those who took part in destroying buses and trains and incited people to do so are now driving around in BMW's with blue light convoys and don't give a sh-t about the rest of the people who now have little alternative to taking taxi's and risking their lives daily just to reach their places of employment. The drivers don't own the taxi's or they might be less cavalier about killing and destroying their bread and butter. I wonder how many taxi owners are not councillors and academics of the ANC. I saw what went on at Fort Hare during apartheid because I knew someone there in the Finance Dept. Tractors were "condemned" and then suddenly purchased for a song only to reappear not long after on academics farms.

      Sharon - 2011-12-10 15:49

      you clowns keep voting them into power so be quiet and eat your own sh-t

      methedex - 2011-12-12 08:28

      And the reward for the 'Retard comment of the year' goes to...

  • spookoctopus - 2011-12-10 08:25

    The ANC produced this transport nightmare and is in consequence, quite unable to control it with any form of legislation which it will abide by.

  • Carl - 2011-12-10 08:31

    If the govt would stop showing its voters the middle finger it could perhaps bring the taxi industry to heel, problem is they all invested in it, difficult to care about people and gaurd your place at the trough...oink

  • Karena - 2011-12-10 08:31


      hein.huyser - 2011-12-10 08:48

      In a sense I agree with you, but let's rather divert the attention to where it's needed. Crooked Metros, greedy taxi bosses and operators and ignorant passengers. Be fair. 36 people in the taxi and you can't see it's overloaded and you still get in? Blame needs to be shared here. As for the government, indeed they have got blood on their hands for creating an atmosphere where these injustices to the innocent thrive in.

  • Neville - 2011-12-10 08:32

    The taxi industry is keeping the country hostage , they getting away with murder , no respect people lives

      Poloyatonki - 2011-12-10 08:55

      I think what the gov should do is to introduce a law that will hold each taxi organisation responsible if something like this happens. They must check which organisation it belongs to and that organisation must face the music...

      Jenny - 2011-12-11 20:26

      Sounds like a good idea Poloyatonki. Something must be done - I weep for these unnecessary deaths.

  • William - 2011-12-10 08:37

    I am sorry for those families who have to face this awful tragedy at this time. My thoughts go out to them. The taxi driver (if he lives) and the owner of this taxi must be brought to book swiftly. As I am sure you may know, these drivers are pushed to bring in the money and this pressure is placing huge stress down the line. Resulting in overloading to earn more! It’s simple... Owners and Drivers in the transport industry are BOTH EQUALLY responsible where the law has quite obviously been broken! For those who don’t ordinarily take taxis: go ahead and ask your domestic staff about how the industry operates and what a bunch of reckless thugs some of these operators are. At one stage I had working for me an ex-taxi-driver and the bullying tactics these guys put up with from their vehicles owners is unreal. Stuff standard employment rules here… it’s a dog eat and beat dog world. Its time Mr Minister of Transport to stop pussy-footing around! Go for where it hurts most… the owners and operators… put the responsibility on the owner ensuring safe and secure transport.

      Gail - 2011-12-10 15:43

      I agree with you but first you have to make provision for all those who do use taxi's daily and for long trips and that will cost huge money and secrecy as well because the taxi's won't be happy to lose their power and income. It's a Catch-22 situation.

  • Alexander - 2011-12-10 08:44

    How many people should this type of taxi carry????

      Barefoot - 2011-12-10 08:48

      that's what i wanna know

      Marion - 2011-12-10 09:11

      If it's a minibus taxi, approximately 14. I think even the bigger taxis are only supposed to carry about 14, just got more space in them and safer on the road. This taxi was therefore carrying approx. 2.5 times the acceptable number of passengers.

  • Barefoot - 2011-12-10 08:47

    condolences to the families. just want to point out if you've ever worked in a hospital you'd know that most accident victims are not from taxis. the thing about taxis is that when it's involved more people are killed and it gets reported on unlike private vehicles- note 'm not making excuses for reckless taxi drivers and unroadworthy taxis. what type of 'taxi' was it?

  • Comrade - 2011-12-10 08:52


      The-Azanian - 2011-12-10 09:09

      And buy every1 an RDP car frm china by tax payerz money...

      Kate - 2011-12-10 09:36

      I detect some racism in your comment Azanian. Best you keep quiet. It is not the first time I have detected this.

      The-Azanian - 2011-12-10 09:46

      @kate. do we really have to go through this again. if any comment made by an african mean racism then i rest my case.

      Gail - 2011-12-10 16:14

      The Azanian: I take it you are a taxpayer yourself as are all those people who consume anything processed e.g. Coke and beer to name just two things. 14c of every R you pay for either of those things goes to Mr Zuma's Govt. Work it out genius - just how much beer/whiskey costs per bottle and per glass. That formula you feed your child is taxed even if it is subsidised and the grant for that infant you fathered won't come close to supporting her and her mother. Those houses you look at with envy that "belong" to "rich" whites are actually owned by banks and the whites have sold their souls and worked damn hard to keep them in good condition. Not everything is as you perceive it and are told to believe by the ruling party.

  • janjac.gilbert - 2011-12-10 08:53

    African thing.

  • Keith - 2011-12-10 08:54

    This type of senseless carnage will continue and as we all know gets worse over the holidays basically because there is only one law being enforced on the road - speeding control (the most efficient revenue earner for an inefficient police force). In view of the statements by the Minister that he can resolve the problem by reducing the speed limit to 100km/h it should be pointed out that even at 50km/h a head on collision between an overloaded taxi and a truck will result in multiple deaths! Our 'office hours' traffic police are unable to control or prevent this type of disasters on our roads and during the daytime are often just collecting bribes before releasing overloaded & unroadworthy taxis back onto the road. I travel the N3 often and am horrified by overloaded, speeding taxis breaking every rule in the book. Wake up people - these are our people that are getting killed and you need to put pressure on the authorities to take action! The next thing is for our minister of transport to equip all taxis will be issued with blue lights and sirens! It should be pointed out that although taxis are the main culprits in irresponsible driving it is clear to see that our uncontrolled roads have become a killing ground caused by so many reckless drivers - yes this includes a lot of the people who are reading this as well. It is up to all of us to formulate the solution to this carnage not just the 'Mad Hatters at the Garden Tea Party'. Condolences to the family's of the deceased.

  • Kate - 2011-12-10 08:55

    Take real stats over this festive season. Put the Taxi accidents into a category of their own. Does not take a rocket scientist to see who the real culprits of the roads are. NOW LET US SEE THE STATS.

      Perfume5 - 2011-12-10 11:16

      I agree with you.

  • Gabiba - 2011-12-10 08:55

    You'll be surprised how many Provincial ANC MECs own or co-own shares in taxi consortiums, groups, etc. Its not a conspiracy theory that there is no political will to make taxis safer. Several politicos have a financial stake in ENSURING that the status quo remains. Remember how USELESS Lynne Brown was in clamping down on the taxis in the W Cape when they protested the BRT? It took a change in power, ie, when the DA took over the province, for the changes to be made and for the BRT to proceed. I know for a FACT that ANC MECs in the W Cape own/ed taxis while the ANC ran the W Cape.

  • Marion - 2011-12-10 08:57

    Another avoidable tragedy. RIP.

  • The-Azanian - 2011-12-10 09:01

    We desperately need a road bill and a public transport overhaul b4 the nation is wiped out.

  • Hanette Li-an - 2011-12-10 09:07

    When is the government going to do something about this? Can't they see what is happening???

      Perfume5 - 2011-12-10 11:17

      The government must have their finger in the taxi business, hence why they are silent when it comes to such. We don't ever hear the Minister of Transport standing up to such!!

  • smorcom1 - 2011-12-10 09:13

    So VERY tragic, when is it going to stop. WHY WHY WHY

  • nicn44 - 2011-12-10 09:18

    Fine the driver R1000 for every extra passenger and CONFISCATE the taxi, send it straight to the crushers. You have to put the responsibility where it belongs.........the driver

  • Bob - 2011-12-10 09:19

    U n b e l i e v a b l e…! This is carnage…this is unabated road war…! The fact that all us road users have to continuously watch out for wayward taxis is not acceptable! But sadly this will continue because we have a society of ineptness in term of the drivers of these vehicles and the governing bodies that are supposed to control it.

  • garethgriff - 2011-12-10 09:21

    This is the main reason why the RAF has no money as they end up paying for the taxi accidents. Every taxi must have to pay every month into a special fund to cover the accidents and deaths.

  • Yolisile - 2011-12-10 09:23

    Good people! the taxi people are very bully I once used taxis and tanks I am no longer using them. If you dont get when they tell to, then be prepared to have an alternative transport as they will prevent you from getting in any other taxi that follows and sometimes u dont have that option. That's why you find people getting in a taxi that overloaded or u see it's a coffin

      Perfume5 - 2011-12-10 11:23

      @Yolisile, I witnessed a taxi conductor slap a lady some time back, just because she did not want to take the taxi, he was trying to direct her to. A male friend of mine intervened, and thrashed the conductor, cops came by and wanted to arrest my friend, people around told the cops they will not arrest him, as he was standing up and protecting a lady that the conductor slapped.

  • Winsome - 2011-12-10 09:23

    The taxi owner should be jailed for the driver of the taxi allowing 37 passengers into the vehicle in the first place. But then you never know, he might just be a member of parliament so that will NEVER happen.

  • Kathy - 2011-12-10 09:25

    Such sad news any time of the year. So grateful that my father safely made his way home from Durban yesterday.

  • Nolan Naidoo - 2011-12-10 09:25

    37 means that about 6 or 7 were seated in each row, meant for 4. Even if the taxi overturned or had a small bumping, there would have been serious injuries or fatalities. There has to be a major crackdown. Impound the taxis, charge the drivers & most of all go after the owners.

  • Joseph - 2011-12-10 09:26

    It sad, very sad. How can the taxi driver load 37 people in a taxi. Please bra JZ, come up with a solution or these taxis will be more dangerous than AIDS. Poloyatonki is mad, it is not amazing because his name tells us all that is as good as Poloyatonki.

  • Joseph - 2011-12-10 09:32

    Hi Poly, how can you be so inhuman. People have lost their lives and you dont care. Please you must take the next flyt back to Iraq or Libiya where live meant nothing Poly. I wish I can know your address I was GONA VISIT AND TAUGHT YOU GOOD MANNERS POLY

  • fargone - 2011-12-10 09:48

    Again the unnecessary loss of life which may have been avoided. Why laws are not brought out to prevent overloading. One wonder if the driver even had a license. 37 in one taxi, taxi driver made his money but for what, cause he's probably one of the deceased.

  • Sheik - 2011-12-10 09:49

    Keep al the comments for the end of the holiday season when the Minister of Transport congratulates himself for the lower than last year road toll. Would like to see death toll figures on the different transport sectors over this period, then the Minister can see who the culprits are and help him get his head out of his arse.

  • gtill3 - 2011-12-10 10:08

    My heart goes out to the family and friends. It is time the Railways jacked themselves up again so that these people needing to travel long distance can rather use the trains than the murderes taxis. May they all R.I.P.

      christine.hydes - 2011-12-10 11:03

      Heartfelt sympathy to the families of those murdered. I couldn't agree more about the Railways - we need to get the trains up and running efficiently ... not only for passengers but also for transporting cargo. That will get rid of the Heavies and the lawless taxi drivers. Christine

      Sheik - 2011-12-10 11:55

      That will never happen, it's Government run.

      Sheik - 2011-12-10 11:57

      Government should Nationalise the Taxi industry so that they can run it into the ground like the Railways, thereby solving the problem.

  • Heinrich - 2011-12-10 10:16

    Cause of the accident unclear? I thought 'overloaded' might have been a hint...

  • Perfume5 - 2011-12-10 11:02

    Last week it was 18, condolences to the family of the 28. These taxi drivers are out to swipe out families.

  • Perfume5 - 2011-12-10 11:12


  • ailsa.j.loudon - 2011-12-10 11:33

    Obviously overloaded!

  • arcticencounter - 2011-12-10 12:07

    In many cases, these drivers are in the employ of another (the owner of the taxi). Apparently all the money they generate from 6am to 6pm goes to the employer and whatever money is taken thereafter, is for the driver. Sleep deprivation is a big factor here, as is greed. Putting 37 people into the taxi means a lot of money for the driver.

      Perfume5 - 2011-12-10 12:40

      @articencounter, 6am is late, these guys start at 0430am sometimes they do the last load in the evening, they don't have time to take a break in-between these loads, they don't have time for lunch at all, they are pushed by taxi owners to make whatever the target is for that day, and as you say "greed" sure does play a major factor in all of this. They will speed, hit red robots, etc just so that he can have day end target for the "boss".

  • Errol - 2011-12-10 12:59

    Firstly to those families who have lost loved ones,my deepest condolences......Taxis in South Africa = possible death to those in them and around them!!!But the ANC and the mob/mafia taxi owners will forever be void of legislation and/or improvements,as its all money money money that talks.So...the carnage and death will continue and in ten years time we'll still be reading the same headlines on a regular,once a week basis.In holiday periods,we"ll read the headlines every day.

  • leijn.tissink - 2011-12-10 13:23

    The spineless current government and it spineless law enforcers are too scared of the taxi industry but do not hesitate to bully and extract bribes from other vehicle drivers. This is symptom of a failed state.

  • Judith - 2011-12-10 13:26

    There are really a LOT of IDIOTs in this country. But I love the country idiots and all....I am like an abused woman....

  • Jan - 2011-12-10 13:29

    Why do "... these people ..." get into the taxi. Simply because they have a very easy choice being "... get into an overcrowded taxi or stay where you are ..." and if you have not seen your family for 6 months what would your choice be? The only solution is effective policing and we all know the likelihood of this!!

  • Dave - 2011-12-10 13:33

    Policemen scared of taxi drivers? I don't think so. And while i'm on the subject, how can you not care that 28 people lost their lives? You will not be impressed if your immediate family members are all killed at once. Think about it before you say things like that.

  • John - 2011-12-10 13:58

    Rather read IOL and get the full story: 30 people dead -- taxi lost control and veered into oncoming traffic!

  • Brian - 2011-12-10 14:49

    37 people in a Taxi, what a crazy situation, they must have been crammed in like sardines. In Europe "mini bus" Taxis have strict regulations as to the number they can carry . Every passanger must have their own seat, with seat belt , and have seat belt on whilst travelling. In several European countries Mini Bus Taxis , have tacographs fitted, (which record speed , braking, time driver spend at wheel driving,etc) .Taxis in some European countries have speed restrictions set below the normal speed limit for other vechicles. The law are rigously enforced and those caught breaking the strict rules lose their Taxi licence for set periods of time . Taxis and mini bus Taxis go throught rigouros yearly MOT test , and drivers are required also to have regular eye sight test and are required to diclose any medical condition that would effect their driving ablity. It seems totally crazy that 37 people can be crammed in to a vechicle along with their belongings , shopping , suitcases etc , in a vechicle that is only safely allowed to carry less than 20 people all seated . Because we seem to have these horror taxi crashes every so often , it clear Taxi owners and drivers take thse chances with other peoples lives because they know their is little or no enforcement of any laws . If the authorites were to have deicated teams whos job was to enforce the laws rigoursly and those caught breaking the laws heavily fined , lose their licence etc , then and only then would attidues change.

      Lara - 2011-12-10 20:09

      Someone a while ago someone wrote on News24 that he has never seen a taxi driver with spectacles. How possible is that? Surely there must be drivers with poor eyesight who need glasses when they drive. Eye tests begin to sound like a very good idea.

  • DraganTrenk - 2011-12-10 22:51

    What was in my comment to Phumezo's previous(deleted) post,that you found offensive?You don't like response to the black rasist?Shame on you!