The IFP calls on the KZN MEC of Transport, Willies Mchunu to urgently address the issue of the “umjondolo” seating practice in the taxi industry as we mark the beginning of Transport Month today.

“The death of 16 people in King Shaka’s Head in a horror crash when a minibus taxi was struck by a train last month calls for urgent intervention to address the issue of overload in taxis. Overloading is one of the contributory factors that leads to the high number of fatalities on our road,” said IFP Leader in the KZN Legislature, Mr Blessed Gwala, MPL.

“Those makeshift seats do not have the ability to harness you in place, and if the vehicle brakes suddenly, you go flying forward, wooden plank and all. You also end up crashing into people in front of you. Sometimes they are elderly people who are fragile, and you end up hurting them very badly. Something definitely needs to be done about these taxis that engage in this illegal practice. I blame the Department of Transport for failing to enforce the rule of law in the taxi industry that now has a mistaken understanding that they are a law unto themselves,” continued Mr Gwala.

“If taxi associations are against overloading we want to see them working together with the Department of Transport and the Road Traffic Inspectorate in conducting road blocks and inspections at taxi ranks. Our call is also extended to bus companies that the issue of overloading must also be addressed. We don’t want to see the MEC being active only during the festive season. People are not dying only during festive seasons. If he is serious about making our roads safe he must start now to work every day to ensure the safety of our people as the festive season will soon be upon us,” concluded Mr Gwala.

The IFP insists that the driver of the taxi that is found to be overloaded must be arrested immediately. Since people are not listening when they are cautioned about the dangers of overloaded taxis, there must be an intensified campaign to educate people not to board taxis that are already full. It is high time now to take a tough stance against taxi drivers and conductors.