“Law fears to tread”

2015-06-25 06:00

Two taxis and another vehicle can be seen driving on the sidewalk while a pedestrian approaches in Stock Road where motorists do as they please.  
Mandla Mahashe

Two taxis and another vehicle can be seen driving on the sidewalk while a pedestrian approaches in Stock Road where motorists do as they please. PHOTO: Mandla Mahashe

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Pedestrians walking in Stock Road near the Philippi industrial area have found themselves dicing with death as belligerent taxi drivers use the sidewalks to avoid traffic jam.

Pedestrians and hawkers who spoke to City Vision said this bad habit has become part of the daily living whenever they visited this place for their shopping and the wholesalers.

Its the hustle and bustle during the peak hour, they say.

Lwandile Zokufa, 34, from Crossroads who is a regular shopper at the local supermarkets says that they have become used to this.

“You have to be very careful on this road because on the sidewalks, a vehicle can come from nowhere, either in front or behind you. It’s bad enough that they are using the pavement but they are actually speeding,” he said.

The chaos becomes unbearable around the end of the month as taxis use the area as a spot to pick up commuters, he said.

“The situation was better when there law enforcement officials were present during the recent Marikana violence. Then, the taxis avoided using the route.

Nobongile Songo, 53, said that she was always fearful that someday a taxi would crash into her stall which is in front a butchery.

“The situation becomes worse when the cars that are avoiding traffic as well as the taxis veer onto the pavement at the same time. My biggest fear is that they may lose control and crash into our stands,” she said.

City Vision tried to solicit comment from the taxi drivers, but they were less than friendly.

Zokufa said that the taxi drivers did as they pleased because they had managed to intimidate traffic officials out of the area.

Metro Police officers were reported to have been harassed by gunmen with one officer beaten by over 20 men while he was driving an impounded vehicle. One police officer was even held at gunpoint at the Metro Police Depot which is not far from the chaotic road. The threats followed an operation by enforcement agencies to deal with taxi drivers in the Philippi and Nyanga areas.

Zokufa said that they taxi operators were sometimes seen directing traffic, as if they were law enforcement officials.

Richard Bosman, Executive Director for Safety and Security, said the city was aware of the danger caused by errant taxi drivers and that this is the reason for intensifying enforcement action.

“We have arrested 11 suspects, a total of 79 taxis have been impounded,” he said

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