Drivers accuse security guards of assault in Edendale route dispute

2017-07-27 13:40
The Imbali 3&J and Azalea/Pata Taxi Associations had a standoff on Wednesday outside the Greater Edendale Mall over heavily armed security patrolling in the area.

The Imbali 3&J and Azalea/Pata Taxi Associations had a standoff on Wednesday outside the Greater Edendale Mall over heavily armed security patrolling in the area. (Nokuthula Khanyile)

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Two greater Edendale taxi associations are at loggerheads over heavily armed security patrolling routes in the area.

The Imbali Unit 3&J and Azalea/Pata taxi associations were caught in a heated standoff outside the Greater Edendale Mall yesterday, which resulted in uMgungundlovu Regional Taxi Council and local authorities being called to intervene.

The Imbali 3&J Taxi Association had hired the CWP private security company to patrol their area since April.

The vice-chair of the Imbali 3&J Association, Zamo Zuma, said they hired the private security company to stop taxis from Pata and Azalea from picking up their customers.

“We brought in security to ensure that these taxis don’t pick up our passengers. We may use the same route but there are jurisdictions.

“We needed someone to watch our route 24 hours a day. The six rank managers were not enough.”

Zuma said the private security guards were not brought in to intimidate anyone.

“They just patrol. If drivers are found to be picking up our customers the private security is allowed to fine them. That was our initial agreement with their association.”

He [Zuma] said they had no knowledge of any assault charges opened against the security guards by drivers.

The outraged vice-chairman of the Pata and Azalea Taxi Association, Caiphus Shabane, said their drivers have been assaulted by the heavily armed security guards. “These men are heavily armed and they intimidate our drivers. We will not tolerate it.”

Shabane said the Imbali 3&J Association did inform them they would be hiring a private security company to guard their route.

“We are not against them hiring private security, but they must not interfere with our job.

“If there are problems there should be reported to the association’s executive. Why assault our drivers?”

Shabane said the assaults have triggered a protest by taxi drivers, who refused to return to work saying they felt intimidated. He said the drivers vowed to put a halt to the operation of taxis in the Pata and Azalea areas until their safety is assured.

uMgungundlovu Regional Taxi Council chair Bheki Sokhela said it was legal for taxi associations to hire private security.

“Many associations have taken it upon themselves to protect their routes and business. It is not against the law.”

The two associations will hold a meeting on Monday.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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