PRETORIA – The Public Protector has ordered the Department of Transport to urgently compile a database of Toyota panel vans illegally converted to passengers’ taxis and ensure that they are removed from the roads.
Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane released a report on Thursday which found massive failures by the Department of Transport and standards authorities to protect taxi commuters by allowing operators to use these unlawful and unsafe vehicles.
The complaint dates back to 2012 but the department was made aware of the practice as far back as 2009.
Mkhwebane ordered Minister of Transport Blade Nzimande to take urgent and appropriate steps to audit the number of illegal taxis on the road.
“To ensure that the department has an extensive updated record of a number of vehicles illegally converted panel vans into passenger carrying minibus taxis.”
She said the identified vehicles must be permanently removed from the roads.
“And such vehicles should be with the consent of the owners scrapped or the owners offered a scrapping allowance to enable them to acquire roadworthy and authorized vehicles.”
The Department of Transport said it had already started identifying the unlawful taxis.