Taxi drivers stage violent protest in Durban - As it happened

2015-05-26 10:49

Get all the details from the taxi driver protest which turned violent in Durban.


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Last Updated at 19:52
26 May 14:54

Angry minibus taxi drivers and owners descended on an exco meeting at Durban's city hall on Tuesday afternoon and intimidated a journalist snapping pictures of them.

The marchers, protesting against the city and eThekwini metro police impounding taxis, had come from the old Durban drive-in, where between 30 to 40 taxis had been impounded.

It had begun at Botha Gardens mid-morning.

The protesters hurled stones at police at the drive-in, after attempting to negotiate with city officials to release the impounded taxis.

26 May 14:28
EThekwini Mayor James Nxumalo has responded to the Durban taxi strike. He says city officials are open to amicable discussion.

26 May 14:11
It seems as if they are leaving, one protester has told the others to go and shut down all operations at the taxi ranks in CBD, reports Joe Stolley.

26 May 14:07
There are some 40 people from the taxi industry being held. The speaker says they want to negotiate a way to getting these people released.

26 May 13:26
Watch as firefighters arrive after Durban taxi strikers set alight an eThekwini parks lorry.

26 May 13:11
Protesters are staging mock battles outside City Hall while they wait for their leadership, Joe Stolley reports.

26 May 13:04

Mayor James Nxumalo is addressing the small group of protester in the Exco boardroom in the City Hall, reports Amanda Khoza.

Meanwhile Joe Stolley, who is still outside with other protesters, reports that a fire engine has arrived to properly douse burning garden refuse.

The firefighters though seem wary of approaching the area.

26 May 12:55
A small group has entered the City Hall and they are about to address the mayor in the Exco boardroom.

26 May 12:51
They are now sitting down Pixley ka Seme street outside the City Hall.

26 May 12:49
Police were quick to respond after protesters set alight the refuse in a parks department lorry.

26 May 12:48
Bizarrely, a taxi owner complains and starts shouting "No to Comrades marathon". Then they all started chanting it.

26 May 12:46

Khoza further writes: "Basically what happened is that we heard that the protesters were outside. Panicked officials went to check on their vehicles parked outside the City Hall.

"I went outside to get a picture of them as they approached the city hall as I approached the march one guy shouted, 'Yay, why are you taking pictures of us?'

"He then started chasing after me and pushed me onto the road and I fell. I then saw the police chasing them away from me."

26 May 12:41

News24 reporter Amanda Khoza says she was attacked by a protester. She says: "I was attacked by a taxi driver. Oh my God.

"I was taking a picture of the strike and then a protester chased me down the street in front of the City Hall and pushed me into the ground. Security at the city hall are shutting the doors to protect the officials."

26 May 12:39
The marchers carry on marching. Their leadership calls them back. Now they are singing and dancing in the street.

26 May 12:37

People look out buildings. Car shop sales men watch nervously.

Meanwhile, News24's Amanda Khoza reports: Mayor James Nxumalo has just informed Exco members that the protesters are demanding to see them and that vehicles have been stoned. The meeting has been adjourned for five minutes.

Sars employees look on from behind locked doors. (Photo from Joe Stolley)

26 May 12:33
Police fire teargas, rubber bullets at Durban taxi strikers.

26 May 12:29
Every bin is being hauled into the street. Cops are keeping their distance.

26 May 12:28

From Joe Stolley: Somebody throws a bottle of water from a high rise. - sends protesters scattering followed by cries of "Hai wena".

The group marching seems to have got smaller - we are marching counterflow to the traffic in Pixley Ka Seme, reports Stolley.

26 May 12:24
See this video below from News24 Giordano Stolley of protesting taxi drivers scattering in all directions as police try to control the chaos.

26 May 12:22
More rubber bullets fired. Teargas again, about six guys arrested and loaded into Nyala.

26 May 12:11
Police have now arrested at least one of the protesters.

26 May 12:00
As they leave and walk down past George Campbell High School some marchers break a water mains. Water is now pouring out over Sylvester Ntuli Street.

26 May 11:58
The marchers are moving off and going to City Hall, says Joe Stolley. More rocks and stones are being thrown as they leave.

26 May 11:57

The body of a baby, thought to be several months old, was discovered in a municipal rubbish bin that was upended by marauding taxi drivers in the Durban CBD on Tuesday, reports News24's Jeff Wicks.

RescueCare spokesperson Garrith Jamieson said paramedics were called to the scene and found the baby lying in the roadway.  

“This is the most horrific thing I have ever seen. The body of the child is fairly decomposed and it would appear that the baby is a couple of months old. The body was in a rubbish bin which was upended by the strikers,” he said.  

“This is a tragic scene and not one that I will forget anytime soon,” the veteran medic said, explaining the body had also been run over by passing cars.  

“The police have arrived and they will be taking over the scene for their investigation.”   

26 May 11:50
Someone has set the grass surrounding the pound alight and the police have put it out, reports Joe Stolley.

26 May 11:22
Protesters on the streets in Durban. Photo from News24 user Trish Wayne.

26 May 11:14
Taxi owners say there is a backlog at the provincial department of transport.

26 May 11:07
There are about 60 cops in the pound and negotiations are taking place.

26 May 11:03

26 May 10:58
Knobkerries, picks, spades and one guy has an animal head on a stick, says Joe Stolley.

26 May 10:57
A metro car had been stoned earlier. Photo from Joe Stolley.

26 May 10:56
National Intervention Unit members have arrived.

26 May 10:56

News24's Joe Stolley tells us: The protesters are at the pound, at the site of the Old Durban Drive Inn.

I can see about 30 to 40 taxis, he says. Protesters are leaning against the fence.

26 May 10:54
??There is a brief exchange of bricks and rocks, taxi protesters continue marching.

26 May 10:54
Workers at a construction site on Sylvester Ntuli road threw bricks at marchers trying to steal concrete blocks, says Joe Stolley.

26 May 10:53

EThekwini Mayor James Nxumalo has confirmed that hundreds of commuters have been affected by a taxi strike on Wednesday morning.

Nxumalo told Exco members that he received an SMS last night reporting that there was a looming strike.

EThekwini City Manager Sbu Sithole said the city has received information that commuters have been badly affected.

"I have been told that people are being attacked on our busses.

"At the moment we speculate that the strike relates to law enforcement issues involving permits. We understand that vehicles have been impounded because they do not have permits," said Sithole.

He said the city first received information that taxi drivers were not conducting the strike but later found out that they were.

"The situation is uncontrollable and we have asked for an urgent meeting with the stakeholders.

"We will be meeting with the industry because they did not inform us that they would be striking. We also need to urgently intervene before it gets out of hand," Sithole said.

Nxumalo said, "All we know is that taxis are not allowed to operate in the CBD. We met briefly last night but issues were not raised."

26 May 10:50

The main arterial routes in Durban were sporadically gridlocked by rolling blockades orchestrated by minibus taxi drivers on Tuesday morning.

The taxi drivers slaughtered goats and burnt tyres on a road as part of a strike thought to be in response to recent route permit enforcement by metro police, said News24 reporter on the scene Giordano Stolley.

"One man carrying a green Sprite bottle is pouring petrol from it onto rubbish and setting it alight," said Stolley.

The strikers reached the municipal bus depot and were "tearing the gate down".

They also stole the ladder of a man working on the overhang, leaving the man unable to get down. Police arrived soon after and fired shots at the protesters.

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