Privately-owned metered taxi drivers operating at the Liberty Midlands Mall are furious that they are no longer allowed to operate there. They claim they have been operating at the mall for more than 10 years and have never had any problems with management until recently when the security company of the mall changed to Excellerate Security Services.“Since October last year we have been targeted by the security guards at the mall and their manager. They told us that they don’t want us working there and that we must leave. “We were never informed of any changes by the mall’s management, so we don’t know why we are asked to stop working there. We don’t bother anyone,” said one of the taxi operators, Bongani Sithole.Another taxi operator, Xolo Ngcobo, admitted that they did not have permits to operate at the mall.“We have asked the mall on several occasions to give us letters allowing us to operate at the premises so that we can take those letters to the municipality and get permits but the mall has been ignoring our requests. We have no other place to operate on because the city is fully occupied by other metered taxi operators. By chasing us away from the mall they are cutting our only form of income,” said Ngcobo.Sithembiso Ndlovu said some privately-owned metered taxis, some marked as metered and some unmarked, were being allowed to operate at the mall and some were not, which is causing confusion.“No one has a permit to operate at the mall but some taxis are being allowed to work undisturbed. Why is it that we are the only ones being targeted?“We are now starting to think that this is a race thing. Maybe our only crime is being black because other taxi operators who are of other races are being allowed to work.“The security guards and their manager are very rude. They come and shout at us in front of our customers saying that we are not needed there. “We don’t cause any trouble because we pay for parking like everyone else and we don’t cause traffic [jams] at the entrances with our cars. We park like everyone else and one person stands at the entrance asking shoppers if they need a taxi, so we really don’t know why we are being chased away like this,” said Ndlovu.Nhlanhla Ndlovu, also a metered taxi operator, said it was not their fault that they did not have permits.“We have been trying to get permits for years now but we can’t get them without a letter from the mall. They also refuse to sit down and have a meeting with us. At the end of the day we have families to feed and we will carry on working,” he said.The taxi drivers said they have received threats that their vehicles would be clamped if they continued operating at the mall but said they would carry on working as they need to feed their families.Anthony Fayrod, from Excellerate Security Services, said no complaints from the taxi operators have been reported to them but said the security company received all its instructions from the management of Liberty Midlands Mall.The management at the mall had by Tuesday night not responded to The Witness’ inquiries sent to them on Monday morning.