Cape Town cracks down on taxi violence
Lauren Hess, News24
Cape Town - One man was killed and a 4-year-old girl was injured by a rubber bullet as the minibus taxi strike in Cape Town turned violent on Monday.
But speaking at a media briefing in central Cape Town, Western Cape transport MEC Robin Carlisle, community safety MEC Albert Fritz and provincial police commissioner General Arno Lamoer all insisted that law enforcement officials will be out in full force to crack down on any violence.
This follows incidents across the city related to the SA National Taxi Council’s (Santaco) strike against the provincial government.
The violence began early on Monday morning with the death of a bread delivery employee who was shot dead at Nyanga’s taxi rank. The bakery truck was also burned.
Lamoer said that, as yet, no one had been arrested for the murder.
Later, a 4-year-old girl was injured by a rubber bullet at Nyanga clinic during clashes between stone-throwing strikers and police. Lamoer said the rubber bullet “ricocheted” and hit the girl.
Carlisle quickly added: “She is not seriously injured.” She was said to be talking and playing soon after receiving treatment.
He also said that 37 Golden Arrow buses had been stoned and 17 passengers and a driver injured while six bakkies had been burnt.
The MEC warned of threats to others in the industry who refused to join the strike.
“The public, particularly in Mitchells Plain, are warned about three vehicles whose occupants are armed; a maroon VW Golf, silver Toyota Avanza and a white Toyota Venture.”
Santaco secretary general Phillip Taaibosch said his members were protesting about two matters - the red tape and "sloppiness" around the issuing of operating licences by the provincial government, and the "draconian" traffic laws.
But Carlisle countered that the strike wasn’t about problems the taxi organisation had with the Western Cape government but was about power struggles within Santaco. He added that there were many taxi unions within the province who didn’t support the strike.
Taaibosch hit back, telling News24 that "Santaco is one, both in the Western Cape and nationally".
"Mr Carlisle must stop making such claims," he added. He also claimed that of the nine Santaco districts in the Western Cape, only one had not joined the strike.
City of Cape Town Mayoral Committee member for Transport, Councillor Elizabeth Thompson, said Santaco had also raised the issue of the City's Integrated Rapid Transit (IRT) system on numerous occasions but she insisted that “come hell or high water” the new transport plan will be going ahead.
Carlisle said that SA Police Service, Metro Police, Cape Town Traffic Services and Provincial Traffic Services “are fully deployed and will be so throughout the night”.
He said he expects the strike to end by Wednesday.
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