Taxi drivers take a stand against skelms



April 18, 2016
Taxi drivers take a stand against skelms

Taxi drivers parked in Manenberg Avenue and refused to move until gangsters promised to leave them alone. CREDIT: Brendan Magaar

Manenberg taxi drivers are gatvol of being robbed by gangs

Gatvol of being extorted by gangsters, taxi drivers in Manenberg brought the area to a standstill on Friday morning.

More than 50 drivers parked in Manenberg Avenue refusing to drive anywhere, until gang bosses agreed to keep their skollies away from them.

Drivers say members of four different gangs in the area are robbing them on a daily basis, making it impossible to hit their targets.

It started when a female driver, in a post on Facebook, said she was assaulted after she refused to hand over her cash.

The drivers, who asked not be identified, said members of the Hard Livings, Clever Kids, Americans and Dixie Boys regularly pull their vans over, with up to 12 gangsters robbing them at a time.

One upset male driver says: “They surround the taxi, demand and take money, scare the passengers and then they just walk away like it’s nothing. We are sick and tired of this nonsense. I get robbed sometimes four times a day. What is left for me and my family after that? The boss still wants his money and we get left with nothing,”

Another driver says they work hard for their money, starting at 5am in the morning.

“I get up early to take care of my family. Hulle gevriete is nog nie eens gewas nie dan staan en rob hulle ‘* mens,” he says.

Shihaam Simmers, 51, a cancer patient at Groote Schuur Hospital says she missed out on her treatment.

“These gangsters don’t have a heart for us and they don’t care about the families of the drivers they are affecting. I can’t get my treatment now until [today] and then I don’t even know if they will help me because it’s not my date,” she says.

Spokesman for the Manenberg Taxi Association, Ebrahim Karriem, said on Friday afternoon that the problem has been resolved.

He and other members of the association had approached gang leaders, who promised that drivers wouldn’t be targeted anymore.

Delivering the message to drivers, he said: “We spoke to these leaders and came to an understanding. Our drivers will no longer be bothered.”

However, in the cases of a funeral or janaazah, drivers must make themselves available.

“As jy gesê word om the ry, moet jy ry,” Karriem added.

Police were on the scene to monitor the situation, but spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Andre Traut said no incidents have been reported.

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