March against taxi route dispute

2017-10-18 06:01
PHOTO: Makhosandile zuluThe Esigodini and Emgodini community march to the Plessislaer Police Station last Friday to hand over a memorandum outlining their fears and concerns.

PHOTO: Makhosandile zuluThe Esigodini and Emgodini community march to the Plessislaer Police Station last Friday to hand over a memorandum outlining their fears and concerns.

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THE Esigodini and Emgodini communities marched to the Plessislaer SAPS on Friday, October 6, to hand over a memorandum outlining their concerns and fears regarding the ongoing taxi route dispute in the area.

The marchers carried placards calling for the removal of the security guards hired by an association operating the route as they said the guards mete out violence against the
public.

One of the marchers, Siphiwe Zondi said the security personnel attack the public,
especially males, usually at night while they are walking.

He said one of the demands was that commuters should continue boarding taxis at the rank at Retief Street rather than at the one near Shoprite where it has been relocated to by the association operating the route.

The marchers gave the SAPS seven days to act on their demands.

The memorandum was accepted and signed by Plessislaer SAPS acting station commander, Colonel Romnye Heeralall.

Another demand stated: “We don’t want the Edendale Taxi Operators in our area with immediate effect. They are disrespectful and arrogant, instead we want the previous
operators who treated us with respect and dignity.”

SAPS spokesperson, Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese said the police will go through the memorandum and respond within the deadline.

The second demand is that the Department of Transport should intervene by ensuring the previous taxi operators, who have since been dubbed “illegals”, work the disputed route and granted certificates and permits to do so.

“We want them [the department] to investigate thoroughly the permits that were given to some [taxi owners],” the memorandum reads.

The memorandum also calls for the police to investigate the actions of the company’s personnel and whether they are permitted to carry rifles and whether they are in possession of security clearances.

“We want Colonel Masikane removed as a head of crime prevention because he is failing us as community.

“Secondly, we want to know what is happening about the case that were opened at Plessislaer Police Station because we have had no updates since then,” the memorandum reads.

Sergeant Ngobese said any criminal
activity by police or accused security
personnel will be dealt with and cases marchers wanted updates on will be looked at individually.

The communities further asked police to be objective when carrying out their duties.

Chairperson of the Edendale/Esigodini Taxi Association, Themba Lions called it a “contradiction” that marchers were mostly made up of people who are unemployed, meaning they hardly use taxis when people who do, who commute daily to work, have never marched or complained about the service provided by the association.

“The people who were marching are people who want their taxis to operate the route,” he said.

Lions said the association had never received any complaints about security guards hired by it being violent to members of the public yet the association’s members has met with community leaders and members of different sectors of society.

He said another concern about taxis that operate without permits is that in cases when accidents happen, payouts from the Road
Accident Fund or a commuters personal insurance are withheld because the taxi is not allowed to transport people.

Lions said the association encourages the public to open cases against security guards who attack them.

He said the association does not possess
a rank permit, which is granted by the
municipality, to operate from the rank on
Retief Street, however, the association’s taxis still continue to pick up passengers from that area.

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