Cape Town taxi strike turns violent

2011-03-14 12:21

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Cape Town - Minibus taxi protests turned violent in Cape Town on Monday morning, forcing the police to fire rubber bullets at stone-throwing strikers, a police spokesperson said.

One Golden Arrow bus was stoned in the Mfuleni area and nine people were arrested for public violence, said Warrant Officer November Filander.

"The police did fire some rubber bullets in Nyanga. There are no reports of any injuries," he said.

One person was arrested for public violence in Nyanga, while eight others were arrested in the Mfuleni area.

"There was sporadic stone-throwing at vehicles," said Filander.

Man shot at taxi rank

Filander said the fatal shooting of a man in a bread delivery truck at the taxi rank in Nyanga at 05:00 on Monday was unrelated to the strike, but Western Cape transport and public works MEC Robin Carlisle told News24 that it was related to the protest, and that a child was also hospitalised.

Three armed men attacked the bread delivery workers, killing the man in the passenger seat. The driver ran away.

Meanwhile, in a second incident also in Nyanga, a bread truck was set alight and was later looted by members of the public. One person was arrested, the police spokesperson said.

He said there were no taxis running on the main routes in Cape Town.

Taxi commuters were left stranded in Cape Town on Monday morning as members of the SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) started striking to protest against the provincial government.

"There's a lot of unhappiness amongst my members in the Western Cape," said Santaco secretary general Philip Taaibosch.

"It is the only province in South Africa where you find that taxi operators are harassed in such a big way," he told Sapa.

‘Draconian’ traffic laws

Taaibosch said Santaco 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.

He said authorities regularly impounded taxis without good reason.

"If he is a taxi operator, they just impound his vehicle," said Taaibosch.

He said he had requested his colleagues in the Western Cape to try and set up a meeting with Carlisle to discuss Santaco's concerns.

The strike will end once "the provincial leadership had decided that their issues had been addressed," said Taaibosch.

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Read more on:    cape town  |  transport  |  strikes
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