A Port Elizabeth taxi driver and his conductor were arrested after trying to hide the minibus keys from officials when they were pulled over for overloading their vehicle.
The incident took place in New Brighton‚ Port Elizabeth at about 8am on Friday morning. Of the 32 people in the Quantum minibus‚ four were adults – including the driver and his conductor – while the other 28 passengers were all schoolchildren. A Quantum is considered a 15-seater minibus.
Police spokesperson Captain Andre Beetge said the team of police and provincial traffic officials‚ along with community forum members‚ were conducting a random stop-and-search roadblock as part of their crime-prevention operations.
“They pulled over several vehicles‚ including the minibus. Upon inspection of the minibus‚ traffic officials noticed that it was overloaded and 32 people were found inside‚” he said. “The driver was arrested on the scene for overloading and the children were picked up by other taxis and taken to school.”
According to Beetge‚ officials wanted to impound the taxi after the arrest of the 29-year-old driver. “They questioned the driver on the whereabouts of the keys‚ but he was uncooperative. They then questioned his conductor who also denied having them‚ but upon searching him‚ they found the keys hidden in his underpants.”
Beetge said that the 20-year-old conductor was then also arrested for obstruction of justice.
The minibus will be impounded at the police station until detectives consult with the owner.
Motherwell cluster commander Major-General Dawie Rabie welcomed the arrest‚ warning that overloaded taxis could lead to mass deaths on the roads.
“The road fatality figures talk for themselves. In several incidents‚ the vehicles were found to be overloaded‚” he said. “Operators need to start putting the well-being of their passengers first.”
Rabie added that several more joint operations would be held across the metro in an attempt to clamp down on road deaths.
The driver and the conductor are due to appear in the New Brighton Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
By: Gareth Wilson – HeraldLIVE
Source: TMG Digital.