Drivers arrested after chaos breaks out in front of Cape Town traffic department

2018-06-26 15:58


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WATCH: Taxi strike leaves commuters in Alexandra stranded

2018-06-25 18:57

Alexandra commuters have been left stranded after taxi operators embarked on a strike. Watch.WATCH

Four private taxi drivers believed to be part of the Uber system were arrested on Tuesday morning after a protest over impoundments descended into chaos outside the traffic department in Green Point, Cape Town.

City traffic services spokesperson Richard Coleman said they received a call around 10:00 and were informed that Uber vehicles were blowing their hooters as part of a protest and that they would travel through town and then to the airport.

"They came back to town to the department and blocked Somerset Road with vehicles. We got officers to go out there and get the roadway cleared."

Coleman said the drivers were angry because they believed the traffic department was making money from the impoundments and not issuing permits.

"We do not issue permits. We just enforce the law."

Chaos soon broke out as around 50 traffic, law enforcement and metro officials, as well as the police, tried to get them to disperse.

Read: JMPD warns of possible strike by Alexandra taxi drivers

"Seven [traffic] officers, five males and two females, were assaulted and injured."

They did not sustain major injuries.

Coleman said four drivers were arrested for assault, illegal gathering and illegal protesting in front of the Gallows Hill traffic department.

They impounded three vehicles for obstructing the road.

A stun grenade was used to disperse the crowd, he said.

Western Cape police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel André Traut confirmed they took action to "disperse a riotous crowd".

"The situation is still being monitored".

WATCH: Taxi strike leaves commuters in Alexandra stranded

Uber general manager for Sub-Saharan Africa, Alon Lits, said they had a zero-tolerance policy against violence and intimidation of any kind.

The company is currently speaking to authorities to fully investigate the violence and confirm whether any of the drivers were using their cellphone application.

If any Uber driver was found to be involved, they would immediately lose access to the Uber app.

"We respect drivers as valuable partners with a voice and a choice, and we want drivers to feel they can talk to us about their individual concerns at any time."

The company said it was aware of a backlog with the processing of operating licences and it was doing everything it could to make the process easier for drivers.

Read more on:    uber  |  cape town  |  protest

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