The streets of Cape Town were chaotic as city authorities cracked down on taxis during law-enforcement operations in the CBD. Taxi drivers, who felt unfairly targeted, exploded in rage and allegedly assaulted a traffic police.
The situation deteriorated when they blocked the departure path at the rank, necessitating the deployment of SAPS Public Order Policing to restore order.
WHAT IRRITATED TAXI DRIVERS?
A video that has gone viral on social media shows members of law enforcement and Metro Police attacking a taxi driver and shattering a glass in his vehicle.
A taxi driver, who requested anonymity, expressed relief that the incident was captured on tape.
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“I’m relieved that this time, people will see how these law enforcement officers treat us, this has been going on for a while, but there hasn’t been any evidence,” he said.
“We were blocking the road because they impounded taxis for minor offenses such as missing registration plates, running red light, or overloading.
“We don’t mind getting punished for these offenses, but why impound the taxis instead of fining us? We believe the city makes bylaws to exploit us.”
Another driver stated that they cannot be treated like animals.
“We work extremely hard for our families. We are not criminals, but we are being treated as such. What is the City hoping to accomplish by doing this?” he said.
Passengers were trapped at the rank for hours until taxis resumed service.
A concerned passenger even complained about crooks taking advantage of the situation.
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“The delayed start to work will make us vulnerable to robbery,” he said.
WHAT THE OFFICIALS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THIS
According to Alderman JP Smith, Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, a handful of opportunistic drivers caused havoc and jam by abandoning their vehicles on the road to stir the crowd’s discontent.
Santaco’s Western Cape Chairperson, Mandla Hermanus, stated that a meeting with all primary associations has been scheduled for Thursday, 3 August 2023.
“We will issue a statement after that meeting,” he said.