No end near for war of taxi associations

2017-04-19 06:02
Two rival taxi associations clashed at the Diamond Pavilion Mall on Tuesday, 5 April. Police had to be called to the scene to calm the situation. Photos: Boipelo Mere

Two rival taxi associations clashed at the Diamond Pavilion Mall on Tuesday, 5 April. Police had to be called to the scene to calm the situation. Photos: Boipelo Mere

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There will never be an end to the taxi violence between the rival Thusano Taxi Association (Kasi Mall) and the Central Business District (CBD) association, as confrontations continue to unfold.

That is according to comments by the spokespersons of the associations, Petrus Bingwa and Boitumelo Motswene, after a scuffle between their members on Tuesday, 5 April, at the Diamond Pavilion Mall.

The instability has led to a dent in business as commuters have started to fear for their lives and therefore opt to rather walk to the CBD to catch a taxi to their homes.

The endless clashes and confrontations continuing to disturb the peace, are all due to operators of the two associations fighting for the right to operate at the Diamond Pavilion Mall.

Various parties expressed their concern after police had been called in to calm the situation between the associations.

Taxis of the Kasi Mall rank sped from their regular point in front of the Monument Spar Shopping Centre, arriving at high speed, blocking off the traffic in the process, to park at the mall.

Nervous commuters were locked behind the devil’s fork fence in the basement after they had been forced to flee from the parked taxis in fear for their lives.

They were stranded there for about two hours until the situation calmed down.

The operators did not have any hope that there would ever be an end to the confrontations and violence, as it has come a long way.

CBD taxis accused their rivals, Kasi Mall, of not having a permit to operate at the Pavilion Mall, as it is their territory.

Bingwa said that they were sick and tired of standing and watching while their opponents intruded on their territory and poached their commuters before their eyes.

“Their taxis are not supposed to load here at the Pavilion Mall as we ferry commuters between here and the CBD and town.

“Their permit is clear that they are only allowed to drop off here and return to town empty.

“But they have been loading here right in front of us while we watch them helplessly. We are not cowards, but we have been merely avoiding trouble,” said Bingwa.

He said the opponents had been using illegal permits, of which the department of Transport and Liaison is aware of and in the process of dealing with.

Although the situation seems to quieten down, Motswene of Kasi Mall said the “war was still on”.

He is pleading through Express Northern Cape for the department and Sol Plaatje Municipality’s Traffic Department to start checking taxi permits, as it is the only manner in which this matter could be resolved.

He raises concern that the “war” is now spreading to people’s homes where the innocent stand the chance of getting hurt at the end of the day.

He further gives an example of an incident of a few weeks ago when one of his taxis was found burned out.

“They are intimidating and bullying everyone who stand in their way because they know that their permits allow them to operate in town and Diskobolosh, not at the malls.

“Our law enforcement is failing us as the officials just look on and sit back as they fear for their lives.”

No one was injured in the recent confrontation.

One car was dented, for which no one took responsibi-lity.

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