A teacher has come under fire for packing 19 children into a car to take them out for lunch at a shopping centre.

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melanie minnie with children packed into her car.
Melanie Minnie with children packed into her car. Photo: Getty

A teacher has come under fire for packing 19 children into a car to take them out for lunch at a shopping centre.

Melanie Minnie, who teaches at a South African pre-school, decided to haul all of the children herself in a small Renault hatchback.

Police were called after people at the shopping centre became concerned for the children - aged four to six - after seeing them pile out of the car.

They found three children in Ms Minnie's front seat, at least 10 in the rear seat and six in the hatch.

Ms Minnie admitted to police she had already taken another 12 children back to the preschool while leaving 19 on the restaurant's playground.

According to reports, police gave her a traffic fine worth around $170 and arranged to have the children returned to the school.

"It is the first time we went on an outing," Ms Minnie told the Beeld newspaper.

"And the last time."

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