Increased taxi fares provoke blockades

2012-06-02 00:00

CHAOS reigned in some areas of the uMgungundlovu district yesterday as commuters, unhappy with taxi price hikes, brought their communities to a standstill, venting their anger by blockading roads with burning tyres, trees and rocks.

At Vulindlela, people were unable to access the Bulwer road. Pupils were unable to get to some schools and businesses were affected as workers struggled to get to work.

Similar protests were held at Nkanyezini in Camperdown, Swayimani, Eastwood and Nkululeko, near Wartburg, where residents sealed off all the entrances to their village.

Nkanyezini Taxi Association chairperson Bafana Ndlovu said taxi owners had pulled their vehicles off the road.

“We decided to stop operating because we feel that we are not safe in the area because of the community’s behaviour.

“The fact that the petrol price is decreasing this month means nothing because we don’t know how long it will remain decreased,” he said.

Siboniso Ndlovu, who lives in Thembalihle area, said there had been little consultation before the price hikes were implemented.

“We have ward councillors, ward committees and community policing forums that can be contacted by taxi organisations when they decide to increase fares, and we will know about them; but they just placed flyers about the increases in taxis without any consultation,” he said.

Police removed blockades from the road to Bulwer to allow traffic to pass. Police monitored the area after allegations that taxi operators had been assaulted.

Police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane said residents of KwaMnyandu and Gezubuso threw stones and rubbish on the road over the fare hikes.

• mlondi.radebe@witness.co.za

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