Taxi owners have no choice but to comply and scrap modified Quantums
This was the message from South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) provincial secretary Sfiso Shangase. “We welcome the investigation because it clearly states that the Quantums are a danger to the public and cause a lot of accidents, so it would be incumbent on us to put the safety of our passengers first,” he said.
Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane recently released a report calling for all modified Toyota Quantum panel vans to be scrapped. The report said the vans were originally designed for goods only, but taxi owners illegally modified them to carry passengers.
“The operation of the illegally converted panel vans into minibus taxis on South African roads contributed to various motor vehicle accidents, as these vehicles are alleged to be structurally unsafe when driving at a high speed, to exceed the rear axle load and lead to increased tyre bursts causing accidents,” the report stated.
A KZN taxi owner who declined to be named told the Daily News panel vans were much cheaper than passenger Quantums. He told of a taxi conversion place in Umgeni Road where they modified vehicles at low prices.
A Toyota 2.7 Quantum panel van costs R388000 while a Toyota 2.7 14-seater costs R499 950, according to Toyota’s website.
KZN taxi drivers who spoke to the Daily News said they were aware of the report but did not know how it was going to be enforced.
“The government has to be careful and not cut into our livelihoods because we have the power to bring this whole country to a standstill,” said one taxi driver.
Shangase said Santaco had entered an agreement with a car-scrapping company to deregister all the modified vans in line with the report.
“We do not know the real reason why they (taxi owners) bought these panel vans. Some bought them with the intention of corruption and others did not know; whatever the case, we are putting them all in a one-basket solution,” said Shangase.
Remedial actions must be implemented within 90 days of the report.