Illegal taxi conversions linked to taxi deaths

A probe by the public protector found passengers may also be exposed to carbon monoxide poisoning.

FILE:  A taxi rank in Cape Town. Picture: Chad Roberts/Primedia.

JOHANNESBURG - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's office says at least 4,000 Toyota Quantum Panel vans have been illegally converted into taxis.

Madonsela's investigation into the illegal conversions is being finalised and will be released soon.

It's found drivers and passengers are being killed because the taxis are not safe.

Passengers may also be exposed to carbon monoxide poisoning.

The public protector's spokesperson Oupa Segalwe says the investigation started about three years ago.

"The investigation started in 2012 so it has not focused on individual cases."

He says the case is centred on roadworthy taxis.

"The public protector is busy investigating alleged irregularities in relation to the regulatory regime."

Madonsela's office says it's been working with various state entities, including the Transport Department, to conclude its investigation.