Woman tells of terror taxi ride

2011-07-01 00:00

A CELLPHONE saved a 24-year-old Pietermaritzburg woman from any number of possible fates after a minibus taxi driver refused to let her alight on Tuesday afternoon.

Police said the 30-year-old taxi driver was arrested and charged with kidnapping soon after the victim reported the matter.

The trouble started when the commuter, from Northdale, requested change for R50 that she had given the taxi conductor for a R6 taxi fare at about 5.30 pm.

She said the conductor denied having received the banknote, and when she asked to alight from the taxi the driver drove past her destination.

“I asked the driver about 10 times to let me get out of the taxi, but he just continued to drive.

“By then I was the only one left in the taxi. I was crying and screaming for them to let me out of the taxi,” said the commuter.

The victim, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of being intimidated by other taxi drivers and conductors as she depends on taxis, said she tried to phone her younger brother for help, but the call got cut off because she was shaking with fear.

“My brother called me and I told him that these people were refusing to let me get out of the taxi. By then they were talking to each other in isiZulu. I could not tell what they were saying, but I could hear that they were talking about me.”

She said the taxi deviated from its normal route, which made her even more scared. She received a call from her brother and told him what was happening.

“After that call I told them that I had just called the police, which is when they stopped the taxi and allowed me to get out.

“They did not even give me my change, but I took down the registration number,” said the woman, who is unemployed.

She said she had to walk for about 20 minutes until her brother came to collect her in his vehicle.

She went to Mountain Rise police station on Wednesday morning to report the matter.

Police took her to Northern Suburbs Taxi Association (NSTA) to identify the driver.

He was arrested after being interrogated.

NSTA vice chairperson Vinnesh Singh said the organisation will not act against the driver since the matter is being handled by the police.

“We cannot punish the person twice. Since she reported the matter to the police, let the law handle it.

“However, we take public complaints very seriously because our clients are very important to us,” said Singh.

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