Taxi men ‘attacked’ conductors

2008-04-10 00:00

CHARGES of assault and pointing a firearm have been opened with the police by striking Imbali Unit 13 conductors after the abrasive taxi owners descended on them, attacking them with knobkieries, sjamboks and guns.

The conductors are in dispute with the taxi owners, who have severely reduced their wages from R90 to R50 a day and the attacks happened on Tuesday.

“They are demanding that we resume our duties, but they are refusing to listen to our side of the story. They come to meetings armed with firearms [and] give us orders to return to work.

“They have assaulted us, and also pointed firearms at our heads,” said one conductor.

Police confirmed that assault cases against taxi owners have been opened.

Witnesses to the assault said taxi owners were searching the local streets for conductors who refused to return to work.

Usually taxi commuters accused the conductors of being rude to them. But this time, they accused owners of being unfair.

“I was walking home when taxi owners approached me with firearms … They pointed guns at me and warned me against toyi-toying at the taxi rank,” said conductor Manqoba Zondi, who has since opened a case at Plessislaer Police Station.

The Witness learnt that other conductors have since left the area for fear of being attacked.

“The owners are visiting conductors in their homes and threaten to kill them if they don’t drop charges and return to work. We want our R90 [payments] back,” said another conductor.

Police spokesman Inspector Joey Jeevan said although no taxi owners have been arrested, police are investigating.

Boy Zondi, the chairman of the association in the area, said that he could not comment.

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