CBD was turned into a war zone

2018-01-31 06:00
The car that was set alight, allegedly by the protesters.PHOTO:lethiwe makhanya

The car that was set alight, allegedly by the protesters.PHOTO:lethiwe makhanya

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I’VE always heard that taxi protests are violent but I never thought I would one day find myself in the crossfire of what I can only describe as a war zone, a situation where I feared for my life.

I’m referring to the taxi strike in the CBD last week, which brought Langalibalele Street to a standstill, something that I would not want anyone to experience.

As I made my way to work as usual, I noticed that the taxis were stationery at the rank in Imbali.

One of the taxi drivers said he would transport us to town because he knew of an alternate route that he could use without having to use Edendale Road, which was blocked.

Once in the taxi and on my way to town, I learnt that the alternate route was also blocked so we (myself and the other passengers) asked the driver to take us back home but he insisted that he knew another route.

Well, we arrived in town but only to find that other taxi drivers had barricaded the corner of Pine Street and Langalibalele Street. They came running with sticks and stones towards the taxi I was in. They were swearing and calling the driver a sell-out. He tried to make a U-turn to get us and himself to safety but that backfired as he collided with another car. I did not see what happened. I just heard a big bang.

Then I saw the protestors coming towards me and in that moment, I feared for my safety more than ever. The next thing I saw was more taxi drivers coming towards us.

They banged on the windows and the doors with sticks, asking what we were doing inside the taxi.

I jumped off the back seat and headed towards the door, all this while the taxi was in motion as I had no choice but to get out of the taxi. One of the protestors had a machete in his hand.

I don’t know what happened to the taxi after that but I am grateful that I wasn’t hurt.

It was unfair that innocent people’s lives were affected by this.

The issue of taxi owners being charged exorbitant amounts for traffic fines should have been directed at the municipality in a peaceful manner. Violence and hurting the people who support them is not the answer.

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