‘Skollie elements’ cause havoc

2017-09-21 06:00
Joy ride ends for youngsters (not pictured) who stoned a bus and drove it around Philippi. PHOTOs: Mandla MAhashe

Joy ride ends for youngsters (not pictured) who stoned a bus and drove it around Philippi. PHOTOs: Mandla MAhashe

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Masquerading as genuine taxi operators, thugs hell-bent on lawlessness wreaked havoc in Philippi on Monday.

They stoned Golden Arrow buses ferrying stranded commuters to work.

This was after taxi owners announced a city -wide strike for Monday.

In one incident, they robbed the bus driver, hijacked his vehicle and took it on a joyride before the bus smashed into a wall in Emms Drive, in Nyanga East. Fortunately, no injuries we reported in that incident.

According to witnesses, the bus was stoned in Lansdowne Road, when youngsters pelted it with stones, bring it to a halt before the driver and his passengers fled for their lives.

“They drove it around Philippi before they disembarked in Emms Drive, from where it veered off the road and came to a standstill after it crashed against a tree,” said a police officer at the scene.

By the end of the day, two buses were burned, whilst three others received extensive damage. Buses, including vehicles travelling in Delft and on the N2 were not spared either.

Golden Arrow and My City Buses were stoned, company cars as well as well as metre taxis were attacked with private cars forced to only have two people in them.

Taxi owners were aggrieved by Santaco leadership in the province as well as the impounding of taxis.

Although the strike was called off in the afternoon, disruptions continued late into the evening.

In Philippi businesses were looted with Nyanga police saying they have arrested more than 50 suspects from the area.

“Efforts to ensure those that involved themselves in criminal activities during the national taxi strike are brought to book saw the arrest of 53 suspects for vandalism, business robbery and damage to property. Some were arrested for public violence as well as being in possession on stolen goods,” said police spokesperson Captain Ntomboxolo Sitshitshi.

The suspects were men and women between the ages of 18 to 25.

The City’s Mayco member for transport and urban development, Bret Herron, said that he was appalled by the conduct of taxi operators.

He said this after two MyCiti passengers, including a pregnant woman, were injured when a bus was stoned in Khayelitsha.

“One of the commuters was hit in the face by a flying rock and the pregnant commuter fell during the violent attack near the Kuyasa stop. Both women were severely traumatised and admitted to hospital for treatment,” he said.

He added that in Dunoon, Khayelitsha and Mfuleni, four MyCiti buses were stoned.

He said that drivers were intimidated with a shift car being hijacked in Philippi with workers forced out of the vehicle.

“I am appalled by the violence and intimidation associated with the strike action by local taxi drivers. There is absolutely no justification for this criminal behaviour by those who prefer stones, threats, and fire to peaceful protest and negotiation.

Herron said the South African National Taxi Council should take responsibility.

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