Gauteng MEC for Transport Dr Ismail Vadi has said he is fed up with lawlessness on the country’s roads and he feels taxi drivers should be charged for road deaths.
He expressed this view on Radio 702 on Friday morning following a taxi crash in Walkerville in the south of Johannesburg during which nine people were killed early on Thursday morning.
Vadi also said it was taking far too long for investigations into fatal crashes to get to court.
“It is a criminal matter of culpable liability and the normal criminal charges need to be laid and followed through. The problem here is that it takes an unduly long time. In a year or so‚ when it goes to court‚ people have forgotten about the incident and you don’t really get a sense of what the outcome is‚” Vadi said.
Vadi said that appeals to taxi drivers to follow the rules of the road had fallen on deaf ears.
“We had a taxi summit last year where we flagged the issue of road safety‚ particularly taxi safety‚ and it just seems as if nothing is happening‚” Vadi said.
“We need a massive campaign led by government departments‚ civil society organisations and even the media to raise awareness over the issue. We need to reach a point where we hold both the taxi driver and the operator of the taxi liable‚” he said.
Vadi urged commuters to take a stand.
“Consumers have a right to withdraw their support for any business. I am not talking about a mass strike in this particular instance‚ but there are particular drivers on particular routes who consistently ignore the rules of the road‚ who dice with the lives of ordinary citizens.
“It’s quite clear this situation cannot continue. The problem is of such a magnitude here that‚ if you have weekly crashes of this nature‚ we need a collective effort of the totality of our society to take a stand.
“The taxi industry should never feel that they are indispensable‚ that their drivers can drive how they want to and no one will challenge them.”