N1 taxi crash a terrible tragedy - MEC

2011-11-15 12:41

Cape Town - The Western Cape has been shocked by the death of 20 people in a minibus taxi accident on Tuesday morning, transport MEC Robin Carlisle said.

"The crash is another terrible tragedy on our roads that has shaken our province," he said.

The accident happened on the N1 between Leeu-Gamka and Prince Albert road at around 02:00. Two minibus taxis heading in the direction of Cape Town crashed into the side of a truck.

Western Cape police spokesperson Malcolm Poje said a 20-month-old baby was among the dead.

The minibus overturned when it was rammed from behind by another minibus.


"The main cause of the accident is not clear at this stage as police are still working on the scene," Poje said.

"It appeared all the people who died were occupants of the minibus taxis."

All were declared dead on the scene.

At least 14 people were admitted to hospital. Two of them were in a critical condition.

"Despite the fact that our Safely Home Campaign has brought down Western Cape road fatalities by 23%, these major crashes, which often wipe out entire families, are continuing to happen," said Carlisle.

The province would step up efforts to prevent such accidents, he said.

"Plans are underway to consult with the appropriate experts to find ways of further reducing the chances of these tragedies from happening."

- Were you there? Send us your eyewitness accounts and photos.

  • Sean - 2011-11-15 12:52

    Tragic indeed. "The main cause of the accident is not clear at this stage as police are still working on the scene," Poje said. The main cause is negligence, poor driving, impatient taxi drivers - full stop. Until the authorities do something concrete about cleaning up the taxi industry, they will keep slaughtering our citizens.

      bad spike - 2011-11-15 13:17

      @RPhiri. lol. Even the poor little birdies arent safe anymore.

  • Marion - 2011-11-15 12:53

    RIP and sincere condolences to everyone who lost loved ones. May the injured have a full recovery. I use mini bus taxis often and I seldom feel safe because the majority on my route are in atrocious condition and the drivers give change while they are driving which means they are not concentrating on the road. Mostly I pray for one of those nice new ones to come along but they are never on my route. Then I just pray. :-( The taxi that bumped into the other one from behind was either not observing a safe following distance, didn't have brakes or the driver was not concentrating on his driving.

      Jeffrey - 2011-11-15 13:36

      "The taxi that bumped into the other one from behind was either not observing a safe following distance, didn't have brakes or the driver was not concentrating on his driving." ...or, most likely, all 3.

      Dorothea - 2011-11-15 14:01

      Marion, I think that it is time to get a bicycle or take up jogging. Anything is better than climbing into these mobile coffins.

      Marion - 2011-11-15 14:13

      @Dorothea lol...

      Anthony - 2011-11-15 14:43

      marion feel for you is there no bus you can take.

      Alva - 2011-11-15 21:14

      Marion, you are a brave person!

  • reinhard.pettenburger - 2011-11-15 12:55

    Very Sad news indeed However as long as the government/ police force turn a blind eye Wreckless taxi drivers, unroadworthy vehicles, drunken drivers etc we will continue to have these problems!

  • StarStruck - 2011-11-15 12:57

    At 02h00 in the morning??? Arrive Alive signs are everywhere and for a reason. Some people just take a gamble when driving tired.

  • rbphiri - 2011-11-15 12:57

    May God be with the family of the victims. But what is also a terrible tragedy is the toll gates.

      rbphiri - 2011-11-15 14:48

      Come on Fred lets not blame God for man's negligance, God gave us freedom of free will, the choices and actions we make are entirely our own making. Sometimes our actions fatally lead to the demise of others.

  • Liesbet - 2011-11-15 13:03

    "The minibus overturned when it was rammed from behind by another minibus." Tragedy? MURDER...!

      Deon - 2011-11-15 13:57

      It sounds like the first taxi drove into the truck, lost speed and 2nd taxi crashed into them. Both taxi's was probably reckless.

  • hannesw1 - 2011-11-15 13:04

    How MEC? Please tell us how are you going to change the ANC inherited, lawless attitude and mentality of your taxi drivers?

  • Peter - 2011-11-15 13:05

    Stop acting like we don't know what the problem is! Stop being careful of hurting taxi driver's (and their associations')feelings. Start by being hard on ALL taxi drivers that break the law in the smallest way. (They are responsible for the lives of the public and should be held more accountable than the average driver - not less). Start by having every single reckless action of taxi drivers being seriously prosecuted. Let the taxi drivers be on the road in fear and trembling (of the law and it's enforcers) and not the poor passengers.

      Paas - 2011-11-15 13:19

      Add to that - remove any unroadworthy taxi from the road. Its pointless fining the guy with faulty brakes, bald tyres or a broken headlight, he'll simply drive off and toss the ticket out the window. Tow the vehicle away, leave the driver to deal with his p!ssed off passengers. Impound it, charge the driver / owner with towing and storage costs and once he comes to collect it he receives it without a licence disc, public carriers permit and number plates (which he can only get on proof that the vehicle is legally roadworthy). Of course it opens the door to more crookery and corruption but maybe a few taxi drivers / owners will feel the pain in their pocket and attitudes will change.

      HendrikAfrika - 2011-11-15 16:51

      Until there are bus transport available these passengers will continue stuffing themselves into overcrowded taxis knowing that the driver and taxi are not up to the required standard. If you have to get to work you will attemp any, even these suicidal form of transport. Government MUST supply sufficient, decent and safe (for all of us) public transport. Government should be seen to be partially at blame for these road killings. NATO stopped Libia's forces from killing their citizens, the same is happening here. I used to take the train into Jhb everyday but with the standard opf the trains and the associated insecurity I have to drive to work. One extra car at risk.

      Mike - 2011-11-15 19:31

      @ Paas: Or: (a) any defective vehicle is impounded; (b) the driver gets a month to fix the faults; (c) if defects aren't fixed, the vehicle is crushed, whether or not the driver was the owner.

  • Bonokwakhe - 2011-11-15 13:05

    A very sad fact is that there is not gonna be any solution to this problem anytime soon. Honestly, how and where do you start when trying to deal with these brainless taxi drivers?

  • gabriel.melim - 2011-11-15 13:14

    It is saddening that these drivers who take so many lives in their hands lack the sense of responsibilty when behind the wheel. They take chances that no right-thinking individual would ever contemplate and rsik lives unnecessarily all in the hope of earning more. They should be governed by some intelligent technology or process whereby their time behind the wheel is monitored. This will cut down the accidents that are caused by fatigue that is driven by greed.

  • jj4x4 - 2011-11-15 13:15

    Look at the time of the accident = CLOSE THIS ROAD FOR TAXIS AND TRUCKS FROM 23H00 TILL 06H30 .....

  • Arthur - 2011-11-15 13:19

    People are so quick to judge,What if just maybe the truck is the cause the accident.

      Marion - 2011-11-15 15:15

      @Arthur... I actually find this very confusing : "Two minibus taxis heading in the direction of Cape Town crashed into the side of a truck." That sounds like the truck may have been turning across the road for some reason. Maybe just crossing at an intersection. But it does go on to say that a taxi drove into the back of a taxi. Just a tip for everyone here. A woman I once worked with hit a truck that was turning in the road at night. She and her passengers were seriously injured. She maintains that the only thing that saved them from being decapitated was she instinctively did something her father had taught her: If you realise you are going to hit a truck try to hit the tyres of the truck so that you don't go in under the truck. Chances of survival are greater. I think that is pretty sound advice.

  • celeste.rsa - 2011-11-15 13:21

    How many passengers were crammed into these taxis????

  • jljohnnylawrence - 2011-11-15 13:22

    Very very sad!

  • Peter - 2011-11-15 13:23

    Inocent passengers who rely on taxi drivers have now died. How fast must one drive to not see the taxi in front of you? The Taxi Association should be sued, and held accountable. 20 deceased, 14 injured - that sounds like 17 in each taxi, pretty full from the sound of it. RIP.

  • Piet - 2011-11-15 13:26

    The ANC allowed them to be a law onto themselves. So we have to thanks the ANC for this carnage. It is time that the ANC start to make fire under all the cadre deployed departments so that laws are enforced!

  • adrian.berghoff - 2011-11-15 13:26

    Step one: get rid of taxis and their drivers.

  • Heather - 2011-11-15 13:27

    It seems there is always common denominators in these fatal accidents - Taxi's and trucks! Yet nothing gets done about it!

  • Chris - 2011-11-15 13:42

    To the ape called Sibusiso Ndebele - take all drivers, not only taxi drivers that do not pass a stringent driving test off the road. Take all vehicles that are not road worthy off the road. Fix the roads. Then we can drive at the current speed limits and we will not have carnage.

  • Carol - 2011-11-15 13:43

    All were declared dead on the scene. At least 14 people were admitted to hospital. Two of them were in a critical condition. Please check your reporting before you commit it to the web. My sincere condolences to all who lost a loved one in this tragic accident

  • jen.bader - 2011-11-15 13:43

    Having more cops actually driving on the roads and stopping bad drivers would be a great idea. Often see them but parked under a shady tree, chin on chest.

  • Johan - 2011-11-15 13:49

    Just charge the MEC and the Chief of Police with negligence and culpable homicide - they are responsible for the lack of action of their respective departments and therefor ultimately responsible!!

  • billygoatdee - 2011-11-15 13:50

    I call this murder, not an accident. Debate the difference, reason solutions and improve lives through constructive criticism, visit UniteSA @

  • Dorothea - 2011-11-15 13:58

    there are two things that black people do without complaint, aggression or any form underlying demand: they hop into unroadworthy taxis, and line up at the polling stations with one party in mind like docile sheep..... the ONLY way that this country will sort out the taxi industry is by creating an uprising in the commuter grouping. the drivers dont care, the traffic cops and government are useless. why doesn't this very aggressive,demanding and vocal sector of our society actually fight against something worthwhile for a change? they bring industries to their knees during strikes, they burn tyres, schools, busses and trains on a whim - SO, WHAT THE HELL ARE THEY DOING ABOUT THE TAXIS? they are being killed left, right and centre - they hold the control!!!!

      MoAfrika - 2011-11-15 14:08

      Oh shut your pie hole, accidents are accidents. Exactly that.

      Sapepa - 2011-11-15 14:42

      Dorothea why the hell do you bring race into this. Does everything have to be about race? I am sure there are plenty of accidents in the world where black people are not the cause. 79% of people in the country are black, so statisticaly the chances of the taxi drivers being black are great. Your blatant ignorance is appalling.

      Dorothea - 2011-11-15 19:19

      Mo Afrika, So, when taxi drivers do their thing, it is all 'accidental'? I think that you need to shut more than your pie hole - there is stuff coming out of all your holes.

      Dorothea - 2011-11-16 11:25

      sapela,you missed my point..... 1) black people generally catch taxis. 2) taxis are generally unsafe. 3) black people therefore must rise up and challenge these murderers. now, learn to read, join the dots and draw logical conclusions. your bantu style education is seeping through.....

  • Clive - 2011-11-15 14:07

    We await Cosatu's comment. They scream blue murder when one mineworker dies - and I agree it's one too many - and call for mine owners to be charged with murder, but obviously the same standards are not expected when it comes to taxi owners. But then again I guess none of the dead were union members, and we know that Cosatu is not interested in the unemployed masses. And, News24, there is no such word as "underway" - it is two words.

  • Shirley - 2011-11-15 14:29

    Ive said it before and Il say it again All taxis must do a mandatory course in specialist driving. Theur licences must be renewed every 6 months and if they dont their licence and taxi taken away. There must be a national data base of all taxi owners and drivers,and a mandatory 6 month road worthy check done too. This should apply to all bus drivers as well. A piolet has to follow strict rules before he is entrusted by the aviation board to carry passengers,yet daily we entrust our children and loved ones to unroadworthy,unlicenced drivers. People will be quick to reply that they have no choice-WRONG! Refuse to get into taxis,boycott till government implements REAL measures to remove these death traps. People are quick to protest for other things but allow this to continue!

  • symbolofmylife - 2011-11-15 14:29

    "Plans are underway to consult with the appropriate experts to find ways of further reducing the chances of these tragedies from happening." You dont need experts or plans...just take taxis off the road and implement proper public transport....

  • PurpleFashionBoutique - 2011-11-15 14:34

    This is enough!!! Contact me if you really want something done about this. My wife is South African, it is so sad to read, day after day, how people die on the roads in your country.

      Peggie - 2011-11-15 14:49

      I realy want something done about this. What do you propose?

  • Bill - 2011-11-15 14:39

    Anyone who drives is able to observe shocking, lawless behavior by taxi drives on almost a daily basis. If the traffic cop's actually reigned them in without fear of their unions, it could be put to a stop.

  • davidnews24 - 2011-11-15 14:39

    I wonder if "special fuel rates" for "complying" taxis could provide sufficient incentive to obey the law, remain roadworthy and reduce speed.

  • Emmanuel - 2011-11-15 14:41

    So sad to read about South Africans dying day after day on South African roads. Let's end this now. Erect a Military camp ever kilometer next to our main roads during the holidays and see what happens. I bet there will be a huge improvement. For more realistic ideas please feel free to contact me.

  • Dean - 2011-11-15 14:47

    The taxi drivers risk everything and everyones lives to make that extra R5 a trip.and the passengers just let the drivers play with their lives as if they are not phased themselves wether they live or die.If i get in any car with a maniac driver i get him to stop and i get out.if he refuses to stop, ill make him stop.

  • Norman - 2011-11-15 14:53

    My suggestion to government; come up with a new law that will compel the taxi manufacturers to produce taxis with the maximum speed of 100Km/h, as for private cars; maximum of 120Km/h. what is difficult about that. I don’t see a point of having 260Km/h on your clock but you are prohibited from exceeding 120.

  • Maiphepi - 2011-11-15 14:55

    Did you ever have to drive passengers to work where everybody says they are very late the taxi is driving too slow and there are a lot of cars with only the drivers in them. Nobody who uses taxis want to die. If you drive that slow then nobody will want to travel in your taxi again.

      Marion - 2011-11-15 15:19

      @Maiphepi... I think that is not a valid argument. Better to arrive late than dead on time.

  • Zion - 2011-11-15 15:13

    It is worthwhile to first understand the dynamics of vehicles and their relationship to the roads and geographic position. The N1 as it currently is, is just not suitable for the volume of traffic it is forced to carry. Were we to research the accidents in this area it would become obvious that most accidents are between Beaufort West and Liangsburg. Prince Albert is about half way between the two. Prince Albert is about 350km from Cape Town. The N1 as alive with traffic throughout the day. Drivers leaving Cape Town will leave earlier than planned in order to miss some of the traffic but the reasoning is erroneous in that the traffic tends to increase during the sunset period. Vehicles coming from the north tend to stop over at Beaufort West for petrol and snacks etc. When the traffic starts to move from either ends it will not be clumped but stretched out and therein lies the problem. The travelling time for the traffic to reach say Prince Albert is close to 4 hours due to slower trucks etc. The "fronts" of vehicles moving in both directions will meet near Prince Albert and it is here where most accidents will happen due to road rage, alcohol abuse and reckless driving. In these areas the overall speed is reduced to an irritating minimum and vehicles overtake in the face of oncoming traffic. In some areas the road follows the topographical contours and steep in places slowing the heavy traffic even more. The N1 should be at least 4 lanes wide.

      Marion - 2011-11-15 15:22

      If one actually researched this one would probably find that it is cheaper or almost the same price to go by bus (or train?) and one is more likely to survive an accident in one of those (unless it goes off a cliff or into a river).

      Alva - 2011-11-15 20:58

      @Zion. Your points are very valid.4 hours driving without a break is too long. Who is to stop the authorities from instituting compulsive driving breaks? Not a bad idea. Being a passenger in a bus is not safer. (Thinking of Roadlink disasters). Sad thing is, was the stationery truck visible? Reflectors working etc? Following distance of taxies? Unfortunately RSA does not have the budget for 4 lane N1. Remember? R26.4b in irregular spending? Big question...where were the traffic officers?

  • sewsexy - 2011-11-15 15:19

    It is time for our government to Regulate and hold Accountable Taxi Owners !!! It is absolutely shocking that they get away with recklessness on the road, not only endangering the occupants but other road users as well. Most of the drivers are incapable of driving safely !!!! This is just so sad - families have lost their loved ones. Who is going to be held responsible? It should not only be the driver, but the owner of the taxi as well. When the government regulate this industry, not only do they score by getting revenue in (more for the people - hopefully), the ordinary person on the street using these taxis will feel a lot safer, knowing that the driver is a licensed driver and that the taxi that they are getting into is roadworthy. The government should do checks on these taxis and their drivers every six months !!!

      Alva - 2011-11-15 20:59

      And trucks!

  • akaRags - 2011-11-15 15:36

    Yes, a terrible tradgedy that yet again, MORE people have lost their lives. What is also a terrible tradgedy is that time after time, these taxi drivers do not learn from such accidents and think that maybe just maybe it should be a lesson to them, when such accidents do occur, which they do, regularly. They are arrogant idiots who think they can drive with such reckless abandon and the only time they will stop driving like demonic psycopaths is when they have killed half their passengers and they are half dying or dead themselves. Then if they do survive, they cannot take personal responsiblity for causing such mayhem and death, like the Pietermaritzburg taxi driver who recently killed 15 of his passengers, - "but, ah, it was the breaks that failed", not the fact that he overtook a long line of stationary cars, & according to witnesses "at speed", because there was not as much oncomming traffic in the opposite going lane, and went smack into a big truck. Pity they cant throw him in front of a truck 15 times, for the 15 lives he killed. They won't take the taxis off the roads though, and until there is an attitude of ZERO tolerance ALL the time from the traffic cops, these dastardly taxi drivers will continue causing mayhem. I'm not holding my breath either, that the traffic cops/dept will pull up their socks and NOW, because that is what is needed to stop the carnage on our roads.

  • HendrikAfrika - 2011-11-15 16:30

    20 dead and 14 hospitalised, 36 in the taxi? Sounds like our old problem of overloading. This is something that can be erradicated with proper policing and SIGNIFICANT penalties to the driver and owner. It is only with proper fines that this cause of death on our roads can be stopped. A serious overloaded taxi should be seen as an attempted murder by the driver/owner and treated as such. If government is really serious in removing this 'plague' in our society they must act with the required intensity. This is like a plague that is killing people and the neccessary annidote must be applied.

      Alva - 2011-11-15 21:00

      2 taxis = 18 per taxi.

  • Virginia - 2011-11-15 16:36

    Its about time the public new the extent of the deaths that the taxis have caused in the last 18 years. We are constantly warned about drink and drive and speeding, but the unroadworth and unlicenced taxi drivers are still aloowed on the road, including haveing been allowed 0.02% alcohol in their veins. The taxi drivers are doing a good job creating orphans in this country, much quicker than HIV AIDS.

  • Brainbow - 2011-11-15 16:39

    Robin, you have been spinning the same tune for too long now. Please take action!

  • quentin.colyn - 2011-11-15 17:22

    I drive the N1 between Cape town and Baufort west ofen and you will not believe wat speed the trucks drive and how and where they over take each other I have seen with my own eyes how one truck is in yellow line one overtakes him and Yes another over taking the second truck .They need to start take the truck drives sort because they dont have any respect for normal road users.

      Alva - 2011-11-15 21:08

      Trucks are a necessary evil on our roads. Without the trucks nothing can be moved from a to b. However, our roads are not designed for taxis and big trucks. We should have a minimum of a dual carriage with uphill 3rd lane overtake lanes all along the N1 and all other national roads. Thing is,MONEY! Because we no longer have a functional rail network, trucks are a must and should have their own designated lanes. This government has bad planning capacity. Spend money on crap instead of road infrastructure. We are now paying the price for bad planning and no vision.

  • eghardt - 2011-11-15 19:00

    Trucks and heavy vehicles should only be allowed on the main roads during business hours ...

      Alva - 2011-11-15 21:09

      Don't cry when your supermarket has no products on their shelves!

  • Anna - 2011-11-15 23:31

    the main problems is! does taxi drivers are using allot Drug, and the don't think about people here are driving... the Government are responsible because there not a training center for taxi drivers... there are free to drive the way the want

  • Chris - 2011-11-16 08:10

    The only solution: fit speed governors to all public vehicles and jail drivers AND VEHICLE OWNERS who don't have them (or override them) without the option of a fine.

  • Len - 2011-11-16 08:46

    "Western Cape traffic officials said the tragedy occurred when two taxis travelling to Cape Town collided with a stationary truck on the N1, near Prince Albert, at around 2am. “There have been a lot of accidents on that stretch of road,” said Western Cape traffic boss Kenny Afrika. He said the truck had reportedly broken down and was partially blocking the road. A minibus taxi with 23 people travelling from Alice to Cape Town ploughed head-on into the truck’s trailer, followed shortly by a second taxi ferrying 21 people from Sterkspruit. The driver of the Alice taxi died at the scene while the other driver survived with minor injuries. The driver of the truck was not hurt as he had reportedly gone to a nearby service station."

  • roger.verrall - 2011-11-16 09:57

    All drivers need to remember the rules of the road. Can we cultivate a pride in good, correct driving? Another point - we measure road accidents in "deaths" - we should measure simply in "accidents". Every one is a potential multiple death.

  • Michael - 2011-11-16 10:16

    May their souls rest in peace

  • adriaan.labuschagne2 - 2011-11-16 10:51

    The accident happen at Prince Albert Road the truck turn right to the diesel depot and stop without diesel as it turn. the crew get out to control the traffic it was working until the 2 taxi came with a speed ignore the people and collide into the side of the truck no brake marks on the scene I was there.

  • lcoggon - 2011-11-16 10:51

    Mini bus taxi - mini bus taxi, too often the cause of death. Remove mini bus taxi and driver - problem solved.

  • Fuad - 2011-11-16 12:42

    The taxi industry needs to be reworked completely. They way it operates in no way encourages safe driving, in fact, it rewards the speedsters and chancers with more trips, equalling more passengers, equalling more money. The taxi drivers, who mostly work for a boss have targets to reach, and risk losing their jobs if they come up what do you do as a driver...follow the sheep or get eaten by the wolf! THIS CAN NEVER CONDONE RECKLESS DRIVING...but the only way to root it out is to restructure the minibus taxi business completely.