How safe are our children?

When we leave our children in the care of a service, that we have paid for, surely we should be able to rely on their sound judgement?

A Port Elizabeth taxi driver is expected to appear in court on Wednesday for overloading his minibus with a total of 48 people – 47 young school children and the driver.

Metro police Chief Yolande Faro said the taxi driver was arrested on Monday.

Faro said the vehicle licence disc only authorised a carrying capacity of 16 persons, including the driver.

Faro said Nelson Mandela Bay metro police department (NMBMPD) officers were patrolling in Chase Drive when they observed a white Toyota Quantum minibus driving in the opposite direction.

One of the constables then noticed that the vehicle was overloaded with passengers. He turned the vehicle around and pursued it.

Faro said the minibus was stopped in Chase Drive between Standford Road and Ditchling Street.

“The metro police officer then approached the driver, introduced himself and stated the reason for the stop. On inspection of the vehicle, his suspicion was confirmed that the vehicle was indeed overloaded with school kids sitting literally on top of each other.”

In a video, dozens of children are seen exiting the minibus.

The driver was escorted to Sidwell Traffic Department where the taxi was weighed for overload and the passengers counted.

Faro said the driver had overloaded by an additional 32 persons, which was in transgression of the National Road Traffic Act and Regulation 233 of said Act no. 93 of 1996.

The 26-year-old driver was detained at Algoa Park SAPS.

The school children from Frank Joubert Primary School were later transported with the same vehicle in three trips.

Faro appealed to drivers transporting children to refrain from overloading, emphasising the risks in the event of an accident.

“Should you be involved in an accident, it can cause serious injuries, loss of limb(s) and even death as the vehicle is not designed to transport more than the allocated totals and the passengers standing or sitting on top of each other is not secured and if we catch you, you will be arrested.”

Faro also appealed to parents to not allow their children to get into overloaded vehicles.

– African News Agency

Citizen originally published this article on 20 February 2019 – African News Agency

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