Taxi drivers operating illegally, outside designated routes or without the necessary permits, will have their vehicles impounded if caught, Western Cape transport MEC Robin Carlisle has warned.

Speaking at the opening of the province's fourth and largest vehicle impound facility in Maitland on Thursday, Carlisle said 532 taxis had been impounded in Cape Town in the past year.

Impounding had proven to be one of the most effective weapons in the province's law enforcement arsenal.

“It is extremely effective and we want to expand on this.”

Carlisle said drivers “must be warned their vehicles will be impounded if they are not roadworthy or, in the case of taxis, if they are on the roads illegally”.

Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille and mayoral committee member for safety JP Smith were at the opening.

De Lille said too many innocent lives were lost on the roads every month.

“Unlicenced drivers don't belong on our roads - their vehicles must be taken away and impounded.”

Smith said: “With the opening of this pound, we have 250 extra bays. Our capacity has been doubled and we won't be afraid of impounding vehicles.” - Cape Argus