PUBLIC Protector Thuli Madonsela concluded public hearings into the illegal conversion of Toyota panel vans into buses for public transport on Tuesday.

An investigation was launched after a complaint was laid by former banker, Hendrick de Beer.

He claimed the vehicles were modified by manufacturers, importers and builders into Quantum taxis to carry passengers, despite the safety risks involved.

Quantum left back

Stakeholders that participated in the hearings included the South African Bureau of Standards, the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications, the National Taxi Alliance and the South African National Taxi Council.

The hearings aimed to hear stakeholders’ views on whether or not anyone acted improperly and who would have been negatively affected if the allegations were found to be true. The vehicles in question didn’t allegedly meet safety regulations, and as a result, they were operating illegally as taxis.

The transport department didn’t attend, despite a subpoena being served.

Therefore, a notice of intent to hold the director general of the department in contempt of the Public Protector was issued. The director general was expected to appear before the Public Protector yesterday.

An investigation report will be finalised and it may be issued within the next two months. The Public Protector called on all taxi owners affected by the conversions to come forward with information.