Taxi association under fire for 'threatening' advert

2015-12-04 19:45
Police officers on the scene of the taxi rank shooting in Durban. (Amanda Khoza, News24)

Police officers on the scene of the taxi rank shooting in Durban. (Amanda Khoza, News24)

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Durban – A Durban-based taxi association has come under fire on social media for taking out a newspaper advert to announce a ban on lift clubs in its area of operation.

The Chatsworth Minibus Association this week placed the advertisement headed "Urgent Public Notice" in a local community newspaper. Among what several critics have branded thinly veiled threats was an instruction to pupils who used private taxis and lift clubs to contact the association. 

The advertisement read: "Please note as of 1 January 2016, no private vehicles [taxis] will be allowed to commute passengers in Chatsworth.

"Scholars that are using private taxis need to contact the Chatsworth Minibus Association to arrange transport. Vehicles that have staff bus displayed on the front of the vehicles will also not be allowed to commute passengers in Chatsworth.

"The Chatsworth Minibus Association [is] the legal custodian of Chatsworth and therefore any vehicle that is not affiliated with the [association] will not be able to operate in the district of Chatsworth."

A picture of the advert circulated through a number of Durban-based Facebook groups with many describing it as a threat.

When approached for comment, association secretary Mervyn Pillay said the organisation did not intend to incite fear.

"We are merely looking out for the safety of children and want to ensure our business is kept safe. There was recently an accident where 16 kids were killed.

"We are not threatening anyone. We are saying that there needs to be a discussion with us."

It is our business

Pillay said that taxis branded as staff transport were taking business away from ordinary taxi drivers.

"These are not staff buses or taxis from companies. These are private people who are now buying more and more taxis and branding them with the word 'staff'. I know of one person who started with one and is now running four. Yet, he only has a licence for one staff transport.

"If we are not transporting people to work, what is our job as taxis? That is our main business. We want people to engage us from now until the deadline [of January 1]."

However, Penny Singh, a private driver who has been transporting pupils in the Mobeni area for 21 years says the taxi association "is being unfair".

"Firstly, the taxis do not cover all the roads. You have to go to them. I go into all the streets to pick up the kids. You cannot have them walking around. They will get mugged or worse.

"Furthermore, the parents choose to use us. Some of the taxi people are rotten and have no respect, especially for the young girls.

"With me, parents have peace of mind knowing I am a woman and I have been doing this for a long time. I started this business charging R5. I am not aggressive like these guys or on drugs."

When asked if she felt the advert was threatening, Singh said: "Yes, in a way it was".

Read more on:    durban  |  transport

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