Single accidents, involving multiple death and injuries, is a downside issue we are all aware of. Death
statistics are heightened by the minibus taxi industry where one road accident claims many victims.

One has only to observe the way many South Africans travel to work, and you will agree, that in
many cases it is on the back of an open bakkie – illegally as well, top of the cargo! The mass of
passengers also causes goods vehicles to be overloaded in terms of gross vehicle mass (GVM), while
the absence of law enforcement lets this dangerous practice slip through daily.

The problem is that the authorities are apparently concerned with overloading on heavy trucks and
miss seriously overloaded bakkies. Another issue is that there is no specific legal restriction on the
number of passengers that may be conveyed in the goods compartment of a truck or bakkie.
Employees who are carried on the back of open goods vehicles can hardly be productive when they
are exposed to the elements, especially in winter. And then there is the problem of the one ton-
bakkie double cab that carries 5 people, at 100 kg each - in addition to a one-ton payload. This
represents a 50 % overload. Such overloading shows up in abnormal wear-and-tear running costs.

Business risk and liability does not arise from possible prosecution for the way employees are carried
in the back of goods vehicles. Risk lies in the extent of exposure to claims arising from personal
liability, and absence of proper insurance cover, in the event of an accident. This is why Isuzu
introduced crew cab models– a double cab vehicle that easily, and legally, seats seven passengers
including the driver, inside the cab.

Productivity is about extracting more work from the same workforce from employers that provide
the transportation for a variety of service industries. This relies on the productivity of people. And it
all starts the right attitude to work, either off the open back of a bakkie or the warm, safe confines of
a crew-cab truck.

The problem of people on the back of goods vehicles is not confined to medium trucks. There are
solutions for body design, mass distribution and protection of workers on the back of heavy trucks.

The Road Traffic Act does specify that the body of a goods vehicle, on which people are being
carried, must have sides of sufficient strength to prevent them from falling off (Reg 247). These sides
must be constructed to a height of:
350 mm above the floor surface for seated passengers, and
900 mm above the floor for standing passengers.

The case for crew-cabs is strengthened by Reg 247: ‘Provided that no person shall be conveyed in
the goods compartment together with any tools or goods except their personal effects unless that
portion in which persons are being conveyed is separated by means of a partition….’