Busted! Cape Town taxi drivers owe R31m - and one must fork out a whopping R111 000

2019-07-24 12:14
 (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

(Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

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The City of Cape Town's traffic services has clamped down on errant minibus taxi drivers in a special operation, arresting more than 3 000 in the last two months.

The 3 336 drivers, who were caught between May and mid-July, had 13 568 outstanding warrants to the value of R31m, said safety and security mayoral committee member JP Smith.

In the same period, 919 taxis were impounded - either because the driver did not have an operating licence, or had contravened the licence conditions.

Smith said they stepped up Operation Reclaim and conducted a series of taxi blitz operations after receiving a flood of complaints from irate motorists.

News24 reported that a taxi driver who squeezed 42 primary school pupils into his vehicle was arrested last week after he was seen cutting in between vehicles and overtaking on solid white lines. He also tried to evade a vehicle checkpoint.

The same day, during an operation on the N2, officers arrested four taxi drivers who had 100 outstanding warrants between them to the value of R184 000.

Read more: Cape Town taxi driver bust with 30 outstanding warrants, worth more than R100 000

Two days later, officers stopped a 24-year-old taxi driver on Jakes Gerwel Drive and recognised him as a man who had run away from one of their vehicle checkpoints last year.

He had 43 outstanding warrants to the value of R111 600. 

When they scanned his fingerprints at Parow police station, they found he was also wanted for a reckless/negligent driving case in Woodstock. 

'The numbers are absolutely staggering'

There was no rest for Operation Reclaim staff over the weekend, as they arrested 224 more taxi drivers at roadblocks in Mfuleni and Kraaifontein.

Officers also surprised taxi owners at their homes in these areas, with 686 warrants.

Smith explained that, once people were arrested, they had the chance to finalise their warrants.

If they couldn't, they were placed in custody and appear before a magistrate to decide on the way forward.

These could include jail time or a payment plan, where the offender had to settle a portion of the warrants before being released on a warning to pay the rest within a certain amount of time.

"The numbers are absolutely staggering and I hope it helps bust the myth that there is no enforcement taking place," said Smith.

"I also hope that it sends a stern message to those scofflaws who think they are above the law, that they could very well be next, and that it somehow makes them think twice about their behaviour, and their disdain for the law."

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