Blue lights, screaming sirens and yellow tape cordoned off the Total garage on Jan Smuts Avenue in Braamfontein yesterday after a taxi careened through the wall of a building in early morning traffic.
Eric Tala, the owner of Chama Unisex Hairdresser, was opening his store at about 6.45am when he heard the sound of cars clashing and saw a taxi hit into a maroon VW Polo. He said he watched the taxi “bounce” over the pavement and come to a deafening crash in the double-bricked side wall of his store.
The Polo had been waiting to turn into the garage when the taxi, which had been in the turn‑only lane, knocked into the passenger side of the Polo, and the taxi driver lost control, Tala said. The passengers in the Polo managed to escape unharmed. One of the Polo’s passengers, Gugu, said they turned into the garage and ran to help the passengers in the kombi.
Azanda Mtsha, a witness who was waiting for her transport when the crash occurred, said “there were about 15 or 17 passengers in the taxi”. Some jumped out the windows of the taxi, while others were helped out by petrol attendants and fellow passengers.
Fadhiela Williams, a passenger in the taxi, jumped out through the back window. She sustained minor injuries to her foot. She became emotional when she described the baby who was injured in the accident. According to witnesses, the baby had sustained wounds to the left side of its face. The mother was also injured. A couple of schoolchildren were also in the taxi.
Niel Mark of the Itech tow company said they received the call at about 6.45pm and reached the scene within three minutes. His colleague Rich said it was a “gruesome” scene with one passenger’s “hair cut off”. The driver and a few passengers were stuck in the taxi and removed almost an hour later by paramedics.
Injured passengers were taken to Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, formerly the Johannesburg General Hospital. According to the hospital the patients were being treated and there were no fatalities.