CBD brought to standstill

2016-02-25 06:00
Photo: supplied Tongaat SAPS confront taxi operators who blocked the R102 in the Tongaat CBD on Tuesday after a person was arrested by police for intimidating a lift club not to operate.

Photo: supplied Tongaat SAPS confront taxi operators who blocked the R102 in the Tongaat CBD on Tuesday after a person was arrested by police for intimidating a lift club not to operate.

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THE lift club and taxi issues in Tongaat brought the CBD to a halt on Wednesday morning after taxis blockaded the main road following the arrest of a man for intimidating a lift club.

Tongaat SAPS communications officer Manisha Maharaj-Marie said problems began to resurface again on Monday with allegations that lift club operators were being intimidated by taxi owners, but no cases were reported.

“On Wednesday it’s alleged that a female ?(lift club operator) was intimidated and told to go home in the CBD by an armed person,” said Maharaj-Marie.

Maharaj-Marie said a case of intimidation was opened and a suspect was arrested and when the arrest was made the taxi operators took to blocking the CBD.

“The owners were addressed and instructed to move or their vehicles would be towed away,” said Maharaj-Marie. “They dispersed shortly after station commander Col Santha Moodley spoke to them.”

Maharaj-Marie said the issue between the lift club operators and the taxi operators does not fall under the SAPS, but police are ensuring that no criminal activity takes place, but people need to report cases.

Sqalokhule Taxi Association chairman Nico Mkhize said taxi owners have grown impatient with the lift clubs which continue to operate despite a clear message last year that they have to stop unless they get permits.

“Everybody in Tongaat is aware of the problem and we have had several meetings trying to resolve this issue with the department and the lift clubs,” said Mkhize.

“They were told they must not operate, but still 20 percent of the lift clubs are operating and we want them to stop.”

Mkhize said school lift clubs were not the ones being targeted, but the ones transporting people to work are the problem.

“We understand that the ones transporting the children to school and home are transporting children and I don’t think any taxi has a problem with that. We want the ones transporting people to work without permits to stop,” said Mkhize.

Mkhize said they want people to obey the law and if the lift clubs transporting people to work get permits granted, the taxi operators will not have a problem with them on the road.

A lift club operator from Tongaat said it is difficult for them to completely stop operations because people need to get to work and although they have applied for permits, they are still waiting for it to be granted.

“The whole community has been affected by this and we hope police take a firm stance,” said the operator.

“We have applied for our permits and we have receipts, but we need to operate while we are waiting because people can’t take several taxis or afford to use their own cars to work.”

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