Class action looms over unsafe taxis

Johannesburg – Legal action is being taken against several car dealerships and four major banks over panel vans that have been converted into taxis.

The vehicles were intended to carry three people, but were allegedly rebuilt to ferry 16 passengers.

The Public Protector found the taxis were not safe.

It is believed they have been involved in no less than 160 road accidents, resulting in the deaths of around 350 people.

“These were unsuspecting individuals that were sold these taxis,” explained litigation specialist Zain Lundell.

“One of the important things we looked at before taking on this case was were the owners of these taxis aware that these panel vans converted into taxis were not real taxis?. We have many, dozens of examples of individuals who, when they realised these taxis were fake, tried to return them to the dealership and contacted their banks requesting that the banks step in to ensure that the contracts were cancelled or that the vehicle was returned and a real taxi was provided to these taxi owners.

“And in all of these cases, the dealerships and the banks, firstly denied that these were fake taxis when they were very easily identifiable as fake taxis and secondly to add fuel to the fire they tried to collect against these taxi owners because they stopped paying their monthly instalments.”

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