Sheppie taxi violence - no solution

2016-04-07 06:00
PHOTO: precious gumede Police vehicles at the taxi rank entrance.

PHOTO: precious gumede Police vehicles at the taxi rank entrance.

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MEC of Transport Willies Mchunu­ expressed disappointment at the resistance demonstrated by taxi operators in Port Shepstone.

The taxi owners are protesting against security measures that have been introduced at the main taxi rank to maintain law and order and protect commuters.

This after violent action and protests that took place at Port Shepstone taxi rank last week leaving commuters stranded.

Mchunu said the visit was for him to hear why taxi operators don’t want the security personnel he brought in a week ago to monitor the taxi rank to eradicate the violence­ and other action affecting commuters.

At the meeting operators were given an opportunity to explain why they do not want the security officers and to come up with a solution to the problem.

Operators said there was lack of communication from the transport department with them, which led to the violence and protest action that followed.

“It would have been better if a local security company was brought in to guard the rank, rather than bringing in security from elsewhere,” said a taxi rank spokesperson.

Another issue raised was that security had closed one of the illegal ranks - Standerton (Ryder Street, Port Shepstone) - and left the other open, which is operated by the opposing association.

The MEC condemned the action taken by the security officers.

He said however, this action should not have caused havoc at the rank, instead the associations should have decided on whether to close both ranks or allow both illegal ranks to continue operating.

Mchunu said he is not against the suggestion, however he is against associations having private security.

“If every association gets its own private security company it will be a problem. The reason being the security company for a certain association will only follow the rules of that association and that will create a bigger problem between the associations.”

The MEC said as government their aim is to eliminate incidents of violence and conflict in the taxi industry, and this is a pragmatic case of rooting out threats to the safety of people.

Taxis are working as normal and security officers’ duty at the rank has been put on hold until further notice.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Zandra Wiid said 33 suspects were arrested and weapons - firearms, knobkieries and sticks - were confiscated.

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