File picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - Members of the National Traffic Police (NTP) attached to the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) have arrested a cross-border minibus taxi driver who was transporting 26 passengers in a 16-seater minibus, the RTMC said on Sunday.

"The driver was arrested on the N4 during a stop-and-check operation. Upon further investigation it was also discovered 14 occupants in the taxi were undocumented foreign nationals," the RTNC said in a statement. 

The driver was currently being detained by the South African Police Service (SAPS) at the Silverton police station in Pretoria, and he would face charges related to contravening cross-border legislation, operating a motor vehicle contrary to the conditions of his permit, and transporting undocumented persons. The vehicle had since been impounded for further investigation on other offences that might have been committed.

RTMC CEO Makhosini Msibi expressed deep concern at the state of vehicles "cramming vulnerable passengers" following details of a video doing the rounds on social media earlier this year which saw 46 passengers emerging from a 16-seater minibus taxi. 

“Overloaded vehicles not only cause damage to road infrastructure and to your vehicle, but it also puts you and other road users at risk. Vehicles react differently when the maximum weights which they are designed to carry are exceeded and the consequences can be fatal," he said in the statement. 

Overloading puts a massive strain on the vehicle's tyres and made it less stable, difficult to steer, and it took longer to stop. "It is also illegal,”Msibi said.

The RTMC urged motorists to show respect for road traffic rules and passengers to report traffic incidents on 0861-400-800. Law enforcement officers would continue to be on high alert as travellers returned home from the long weekend on Sunday, the RTMC statement said.

African News Agency (ANA)