Taxi strikers facing terrorism charges seek bail

2015-06-11 19:47
(Giordano Stolley, News24)

(Giordano Stolley, News24)

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Durban - Fifteen men who face terrorism charges over a violent taxi protest will find out on Friday morning whether they will be granted bail in the Durban Magistrate’s Court.

During the second day of the bail hearing on Thursday, the court was told that 18 buses were stoned, 25 cars were damaged and 39 rubbish bins were damaged during the protest that rampaged through central Durban on May 26.

Prosecutor Barend Groen said the State was demanding that the men be denied bail.

It emerged that prior to the protests, the eThekwini Metro Police had impounded 112 taxis because they did not have the required permits.

After the payment of admission of guilt fines, 67 of the taxis were then released, but the remaining 45 were released only after the men staged their violent protest.

Detective Warrant Office Sibusiso Nkwana told the court: "When they demanded the release of the taxis, the city principals ordered their release."

He said summonses issued in relation to the 45 taxis were also withdrawn.

A lawyer for the strikers argued that apart from the policemen who arrested his 15 clients, the State had no clear evidence linking his clients to any of the charges, including those of public damage to property, assault and robbery.

The strike was called off after taxi bosses met with the eThekwini’s executive council, where an agreement was reached to release 40 taxis without fines and to settle the remaining fines with the metro police department.

Magistrate Vanitha Armu postponed the case to Friday to decide on whether to grant the men bail.

eThekwini Mayor James Nxumalo confirmed in May that the dispute between the city and taxi bosses had been resolved, News24 reported.

The municipality backed down in the face of threats from the minibus taxi industry and agreed to release 45 taxis that were impounded by eThekwini metro police for failing to have valid permits.

Read more on:    durban  |  taxi violence  |  crime

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