Durban – He had only recently returned to work when the taxi he was driving collided head-on with a municipal bus on Ingcebo Road, near the bus depot in Ntuzuma. Eighteen people were injured.
The driver, an affiliate of the Ntuzuma Taxi Association, was allegedly trying to dodge taxi route marshals, who stop overloaded taxis when the collision occurred.
Velaphi Gumede, the chairman of the association, said the driver returned to work in November following a six-month suspension.
According to Gumede, the driver was following a bus, which was about to turn right.
“Because he was (avoiding) the route marshals, he did not wait for the bus to turn. Instead, he manoeuvred past it, without realising that there was another, oncoming, bus.
“We feel bad for the families and the community we work with. This tragedy could have been avoided, but innocent lives are lost because of one person who disregarded our operational rules. These route marshals are there for a reason – to ensure that taxi drivers adhere to the rules, which include carrying only the certified number of passengers,” he said.
On Wednesday afternoon, the association held an emergency meeting to discuss the accident and what needed to be done.
Gumede said the taxi owner did not attend, but was represented by her daughter.
“Her daughter told us that her mother was not herself after hearing about the accident. She did not have the strength to face the public or the association members,” he said.
On Thursday, association members are expected to visit all the families whose children were involved in the accident.
“Later, we will visit the families of the deceased, once they are ready, and will contribute towards the burials,” said Gumede.
Police spokeswoman Colonel Thembeka Mbhele said the injured driver was still in hospital and charges had not been laid against him yet.