KwaZulu Natal Transport and Safety MEC Bheki Ntuli with RTI director Victor Chetty, left, and sub-contractor Siyabonga Mbatha, right. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency (ANA)

PORT ELIZABETH - Following the deaths of seven people in a minibus accident on the R102, the IFP on Friday in a statement has called on the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) MEC for transport Bheki Ntuli to address overloading it says is prevalent in the taxi industry. 

The IFP said that the taxi, in which fifteen others were also injured, was overloaded when it rolled down an embankment, and called for the immediate arrest of the driver

"This overloading has undoubtedly contributed to the accident and needs to be addressed as overloading is a contributory factor that leads to the alarmingly high number of fatalities on our province's roads." 

The party said the dangerous practice placed the lives of road users at risk and that the department of transport's inability to "enforce the rule of law" emboldened the taxi industry to assume it is above the law. 

"Campaigns have clearly failed to highlight the dangers of overloading. Passengers themselves are complacent and are willfully jeopardising their own safety. It is time to adopt a tough stance against taxi drivers and conductors who encourage overloading and other dangerous practices.

"We believe that drivers involved in overloading must be charged with manslaughter. Lives are placed at risk by those greedy taxi bosses and drivers who put money before the safety of passengers.

"The IFP records its heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased and wish those injured a speedy and complete recovery.

"Taxi associations must work in partnership with the department of transport and the road traffic inspectorate in conducting road blocks and random checks at taxi ranks. 

"Our call is also extended to bus companies. We do not believe that road safety should be a priority only during the festive season. 

"People die daily on our roads and the MEC must harness all resources to tackle the challenges of carnage on our roads 365 days a year."

African News Agency