Lift clubs brought to halt FROM PAGE 1

2015-11-11 06:01
Photo: darshan rangai Hundreds of lift club operators and commuters go to the Tongaat SAPS to request help against the taxi bosses.

Photo: darshan rangai Hundreds of lift club operators and commuters go to the Tongaat SAPS to request help against the taxi bosses.

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Now they are being told by a group of armed men that their driver must drop them off where they are stopped or turn around,” said an operator running a lift club for 20 years.

Angry parents spoke of their disgust at the behaviour of the taxi industry to intimidate school loads and traumatise their children.

They also indicated that the taxi industry does not provide the same service as the lift clubs which pick their children from their door step and leave them at the gate.

“My child and I know who is picking her up, what time they will pick her up and it’s right from our front door. They take her to the school and to her classroom and after school they pick her up from the classroom. If there is a problem I know exactly who to call and who my child is with. Which taxi does that?” asked a parent from Belvedere.

Another parent highlighted safety saying they don’t trust the taxi drivers, how they drive and weave through roads or their vehicles.

“The taxis are barely road worthy themselves. We can’t be forced to now send our child walking to school or in a taxi which is overloaded. They can’t be allowed to dictate and demand how my child goes to school because I will never feel my child is safe,” said a parent.

On Tuesday a lift club operator claims to have been assaulted and his passengers harassed.

“The driver was taking his passengers to work when he saw the taxi guys waiting on the side of the road so he took a detour, but they followed him and eventually they assaulted him,” said an operator.

At around 6:30am on Tuesday lift club operators, commuters and parents went to the Tongaat SAPS to ask for assistance. They met with police to ask for peace to be returned to the Tongaat area and for their services to resume undeterred by intimidation.

This has not stopped the taxi industry from occupying main exits around Tongaat and after the alleged incidents during the week, lift club operators have taken a decision not to operate for safety of their passengers.

“We are trying to meet with government officials to get them involved and intervene. All we want is for peace to return and for us to operate without intimidation,” said an operator.

“We have been operating for more than 20 years and only in recent years we are being told we need to get certain documents. We have receipts after meeting with the department of Transport and making applications for permits, but this could take weeks or years.”

He said this was his bread and butter and questioned how they could just be forced to stop by intimidation.

Sqalokhuhle Taxi Association chairman, Nico Mkhize says the taxi industry has had enough of the lift clubs operating in the community and they had to have permits.

“We don’t need lift clubs in Tongaat anymore. These lift clubs are taking our business because they tell people to tell them where they need to go and they will give them a better price,” said Mkhize.

Mkhize said the taxi industry only wants to see the law enforced and those without permits must stop operating completely.

Tongaat SAPS communications officer, Warrant Officer, Manisha Maharaj-Marie said police are monitoring the situation to ensure it does not escalate.

“SAPS have and will be monitoring,” said Maharaj-Marie. “During our monitoring we have had no incidents. We have incident reports but no cases opened.”

Maharaj-Marie said police are working with the relevant authorities to quash the situation and the Department of Transport Law Enforcement will also be attending to this situation.

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