Minibus taxi blockade near Stellenbosch cleared amid tension over violence in the industry

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A taxi blockade near Stellenbosch ended swiftly on Monday amid jitters over a possible resurgence in shootings aimed at taxi drivers and passengers. (Getty)
A taxi blockade near Stellenbosch ended swiftly on Monday amid jitters over a possible resurgence in shootings aimed at taxi drivers and passengers. (Getty)
  • A taxi blockade near Stellenbosch ended swiftly on Monday amid jitters over further violence in the industry. 
  • Urgent talks over a loading rights dispute at the Paarl taxi rank will continue on Tuesday. 
  • At least 71 people have been killed in shootings near taxis or taxi ranks in Western Cape this year. 

A taxi blockade near Stellenbosch ended swiftly on Monday amid jitters over a possible resurgence in shootings aimed at taxi drivers and passengers. 

Stellenbosch municipality spokesperson Stuart Grobbelaar said the blockade on the N1 on Monday ended quickly after a brief disruption to traffic. 

The blockade was set up on the N1 outbound between Klapmuts and Kraaifontein.

This was ahead of continued talks planned for Tuesday between taxi associations and the Western Cape's transport department.

Seventy-one people had been killed this year due to shooting at or near taxis in the province. 

Last Wednesday was particularly bloody: 

  • A 41-year-old taxi driver was shot at in Ravensmead from another taxi; 
  • In Potsdam Road, Dunoon, a 35-year-old man was killed;
  • At the intersection of New Eisleben and Sheffield Roads in Philippi East, two men were killed, and another two men injured when they were shot at in a taxi; and
  • In Duinefontein Road in Samora Machel, commuters were shot at, and a 40-year-old man was killed, while two men were injured. 

READ | High level talks to get under way in Western Cape following deadly spate of taxi shootings

Then on Thursday, police confirmed another death and another injury close to the taxi rank in Robert Sobukwe Drive.

Taxi services were suspended for a period out of caution, leaving passengers stranded with no proper rail system to rely on anymore. An urgent meeting was held on Thursday to discuss tensions between the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (CATA), the Congress of Democratic Taxi Association (Codeta) and the SA National Taxi Council (Santaco). 

Santaco Western Cape spokesperson Naseem Abdurahman said taxis were back on the road, and hopefully, there would be further progress at continued talks over the situation at 10:00 on Tuesday with the provincial transport department.

"People need to go to work," said Abdurahman. 

READ | Cape taxi wars: Services to resume following agreement with bosses

He explained that the conflict was driven by a dispute over loading rights at ranks in Paarl on the route to Bellville. 

Loading rights set out which taxis may collect and transport passengers and were carefully crafted agreements in a highly competitive industry. 

Codeta's Andile Khanyi said matters appeared to be under control on Monday. 

Travelling in the heavy rain in Cape Town was making work more difficult for drivers, but they were pressing on, he said.

"It is very difficult right now," said Khanyi.

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