Cape Town - The driver who crashed a minibus taxi near Parliament in Cape Town while transporting over 20 school children does not have a licence, nor and is the vehicle licensed.
MEC of Transport and Public Works Daylin Mitchell revealed this on Monday, saying: “It was shocking to learn that the driver did not have a driver’s or operating licence and that the minibus was also unlicensed.”
The 16-seater minibus taxi was transporting over 20 pupils and two adults when it crashed into the steel barricade outside the Parliament on Friday morning. Eleven pupils were seriously injured while others suffered slight injuries, according to officials.
Onlookers said that the driver skipped a red traffic light before crashing into the barricade.
“I am horrified by the irresponsible actions of the driver and the owner of the minibus taxi that crashed while transporting school children in the Cape Town CBD on Friday,” said Mitchell.
The transport is not contracted by the Western Cape Education Department but was privately organised by parents to take their children to schools around the City bowl. Some pupils are still being treated in hospitals following the crash.
Mitchell said he immediately requested the Department of Transport and Public Works to investigate what had happened.
“As a transport regulator, I will take whatever appropriate actions are required by the facts of the incident, including laying criminal charges where appropriate. Irresponsible drivers, with no consideration for the safety of the people they transport, cannot go unpunished.”
He also called on parents and schools to ensure that any vehicles which they contract to transport children are safe, and drivers are competent and licensed.
“My department has a focus on road safety and does ongoing work to improve child road safety. This includes educational initiatives at schools for teachers and learners, information and exhibition stands at community events, the implementation of scholar patrols at identified schools, driver and pedestrian awareness events, and other events across the province.”
Police are also investigating the driver for negligence, and more charges are expected to be added as investigations continue.