Calm returns to Gugs

2020-01-30 06:00
Hundreds of people marched at NY1 during the Gugulethu shutdown on Saturday.

Hundreds of people marched at NY1 during the Gugulethu shutdown on Saturday.

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Calm has returned to the streets of Gugulethu following several days of chaos when Avanza taxis were targeted. The taxis are being blamed for the escalation of crime in and around Gugulethu.

In the latest incident, a 13-year-old girl was allegedly sexually assaulted by a driver, something that irked the community and led to a complete shutdown of the service over the weekend.

Irate residents barricaded the roads with stones and burning tyres and stoned vehicles that tried to operate.

Following a series of negotiations between taxi owners and the community, the Avanzas were allowed to return to the streets yesterday (Wednesday 29 January).

One of the shutdown organisers, whose name is known to City Vision but withheld for safety reasons, said the shutdown was fuelled by the bad behaviour by some of the drivers.

He claimed they use the taxis to rob and rape passengers. “As the community, we are tired of this bad behaviour of amaphela drivers. We’ve been receiving reports of people being robbed and others being raped by the drivers,” he said. “We are saying enough is enough.”

However, he stated that as the community leaders they don’t condone the attack on the Avanzas. “We agreed with Khikhi-Murray taxi owners that from Saturday (25 January) till Tuesday (28 January) we did not want to see any Avanza operating in Gugulethu,” he said.

Although there was a standing agreement, he said some drivers operated taxis and were attacked. “We heard there was an Avanza that was attacked next to Nyanga Junction and other areas by residents which were operating. We are not part of that and we stated clearly that people must be calm,” he said.

Speaking to City Vision after a meeting held on Tuesday 28 January at Ikhwezi Community Centre, between taxi owners, residents and some community leaders, he said the taxis have been allowed to operate. However, more than 50% of people are still opposed to the taxis returning to the streets.

Ward 38 councillor Luvuyo Zondani said as subcouncil 14 (wards 38, 40, 41, 42 and 45) they are supporting the shutdown.

He said they are tired of the “hooligans” operating the Avanzas. He emphasised that not all the drivers behave badly.

“Since last year we engaged in various campaigns including the fight against gender-based violence. We support the shutdown but not the violence,” he said.

Gugulethu police station communication’s officer Const Sindisiwe Ngqele said no cases of attacks against Avanzas have been opened yet. However, she stated police officers are monitoring the situation.

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