Commuters left stranded in various parts of Cape Town following taxi strike

Commuters left stranded in various parts of Cape Town following taxi strike

Taxis associations affiliated to Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association and Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations held a march against impoundment of their vehicles and other grievances.

A number of passengers have been injured after three Golden Arrow buses were set alight in Nyanga, Eisleben Road while several vehicles were torched in Bloekombos on Thursday morning.

It is not clear if these incidents of crime are related to the taxi strike yet. Commuters were forced to seek alternative transport to get to work as Cata and Codetta suspended their operations. The N2 highway heading into Cape Town was obstructed early in the morning as Taxis slowly made their way to the CBD.

The taxi operators say they want government to put a moratorium on the impounding taxis operating on suspended routes, and instead devise solutions.

General Secretary for Cata Mandla Hermanus says, “Our vehicles are being impounded every day for operating without an operating license. Or for operating contrary to the conditions. But what we are saying is that Metro rail has been failing for five years now. As a result of that new routes have been created by associations to service those communities that ordinarily would have relied on the Metro rail. But government has not come to the part by legalising those routes. But what they have done is to target those routes that are serviced by us for roadblocks impoundments. We are saying that cannot be correct.”

The transport department in the province says the B97 route in Paarl was closed last year due to rampant taxi killings.

“The route where Golden Arrow Bus Service (GABS) has been granted a temporary operating license for is the B97 route. The route is closed to minibus-taxis. The route was closed due to taxi violence which led to multiple deaths in the industry. The temporary license was given to GABS to ensure that the public who needs public transport has access to some form of public transport. Had we simply closed the route without providing a temporary alternative to the public, it would have left many commuters stranded. This is not a blanket approval, but a response to support the commuters who would have been left stranded on a closed route of which the cause of the closure was taxi violence and killings,” says Jandre Bakker from the Department of Transport and Public Works.

Buses, vehicles set alight

Buses and several vehicles were set alight in Nyanga, Eisleben Road and Bloekombos. Commuters had to take buses near police stations as a safety precaution.

“This has affected us because we normally use taxi as the stuff transportation but now this will hit us in the pockets because we have to pay extra. But we have to give in so that that we can do our things in town,” a commuter says.

“I normally take a 7am bus at 3am. I am still here in Nyanga and I was supposed to be at work at 8. This will affect me because it’s past 8 already and I’m late,” another commuter added.

The memorandum was received and signed by the representative of the provincial government. The Associations have given government a seven-day ultimatum to respond, threatening to take further action if the deadline is not met.

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