This skorokoro ferrys people

Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi

Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi

You might call it isikorokoro because it is one, but recently this wreck of a taxi has even sent more than a chill down the spine of a hardened senior traffic officer on the West Rand.

Also, it qualifies as being called a skorokoro of a skorokoro - mother of all wrecks, you might say.

This eyesore is "officially" on the road and transports commuters between Bekkersdal and Westonaria.

There is virtually nothing that works properly in this taxi.

To start it you have to put on the battery terminals and put in the ignition because in its place is the same electrical switch used in the home for household appliances.

This switch is located far from where the ignition is supposed to be and starts the engine only after an intricate combination of wires under the steering wheel have been manipulated.

Once it has started you take off the terminals because the battery might explode if they are left on.

The driver's seat is balanced on bricks.

Underneath the pedals is a huge hole where a size 32 person can go in and out with ease.

From there you can see a huge piece of steel welded to the chassis to hold it from falling off.

The steering wheel is so loose that you need to turn it three times to get the wheels to turn.

The front passenger's door does not open at all. To get out passengers either jump to the seat behind the driver or use the driver's door.

But the driver's seat is more risky because the car has no handbrake.

Passengers' seats are not fastened, they hurtle back and forth. To open the sliding side door, you need to pull some wire down but only if you know it is there for that purpose.

Superintendent Riaan Engelbrecht, Westonaria law enforcement chief, said when they tried to pull this taxi aside, it did not stop on the spot.

"When we stopped him, he just went past," Engelbrecht said. "I thought he was trying to run away but when he eventually stopped about 100 metres away, the driver explained that the taxi would not stop immediately."

Engelbrecht said he was appalled by what he saw when he got inside the minibus.

"I was shocked to see there was a car like this on our roads. When we arrested the driver, who is also the owner of the vehicle, I was supposed to drive the taxi to our offices but I couldn't. I did not know what to touch because everything was misplaced."

Engelbrecht blamed corrupt traffic officers for allowing such cars to be on the road.

"Some corrupt officials would brazenly choose to take R20 bribes and let the life-threatening car to go on its way."

Meanwhile, 20 school children were seriously injured in an accident involving an unroadworthy taxi at Braamfischerville in Soweto on Friday.

The driver lost control and hit a tree on the side of the road.

The Department of Transport said 2350 confiscated unroadworthy taxis had been destroyed in a nationwide blitz since October.