Seventeen pupils were injured yesterday morning when their overloaded vehicle overturned near Mthatha.
In Mdantsane yesterday a young driver caught transporting 42 pupils in a 15-seater Toyota Quantum minibus taxi was arrested by the police.
In the Mthatha crash, a group of 24 pupils, along with the driver and his assistant, were on the way to KT Mchasa Senior Secondary School in Tsolo when the taxi overturned on the N2 near Laman village towards Tsolo.
Transport department spokeswoman Khuselwa Rantjie said the pupils were being transported to school despite the government having laid down strict rules that all drivers have to adhere to, including those forbidding overloading.
“In terms of that we will have to assess the situation and consider suspension of the driver,” said Rantjie.
“As the department we have to ensure that scholar transport is carried out within the applicable rules of the road and our drivers know this.”
She said a case of reckless driving and overloading would be opened.
Health spokesman Sizwe Kupelo confirmed some of the children were taken to Nelson Mandela Central Hospital with injuries varying from serious to at least six being in a critical condition.
The overloaded Mdantsane taxi was bust at Devereaux Avenue in Vincent at 7.30am, said Rantjie.
Cambridge police spokesman Captain Mluleki Mbi said the 25-year-old was charged with overloading and would appear in the East London Magistrate’s Court today.
Mbi said the Mdantsane driver was caught by a vigilant Buffalo City Metro traffic officer who grew suspicious after the driver appeared to be nervous when he approached the officer.
“When the officer tried to stop the driver, he would not stop and so he chased after him the until he caught him,” said Mbi.
Mbi said: “The officer discovered that pupils were squashed inside the taxi, sitting on each others’ laps.”
The shocking incident comes a month after one 15-seater minibus was pulled over in Amalinda with 32 pupils on board, and another overloaded 15-seater crashed on the Black Road, injuring all 21 pupils inside.
The injuries were minor.
The youths were bound for East London schools in Southernwood, Vincent and the CBD.