Thousands of Cape commuters were left stranded in the CBD on Tuesday, following a standoff between taxi drivers and police.
The chaos erupted after lunchtime at the taxi rank and continued into the evening, bringing peak-hour traffic in the city to a standstill.
According to a witness, mense were told to get out of the taxis on the deck, while officials impounded the vehicles.
He said that taxi drivers then decided to blocked off the road along Christiaan Barnard Street after they were not allowed in or out of the deck.
The City’s Mayco member for Safety and Security, JP Smith, said that during the stand-off, a traffic official was also assaulted.
“Earlier today, enforcement operations around the CBD resulted in several taxis being impounded,” he explained.
“Taxi drivers assembled on the rank and assaulted one of the traffic officers. The scene grew tense as several taxis took to blocking the exit route in the rank.
“In the stand-off, SAPS Public Order Policing [POP] deployed to the scene and pleaded for the return of order.”
Smith said that taxis trying to enter the rank for the afternoon peak period were prevented from doing so by fellow operators, which caused widespread congestion around the rank.
“A group of opportunistic drivers intent on causing chaos, attempted to incite the crowds and numerous drivers left their vehicles in the road, causing a gridlock and adding to the frustration,” he added.
“Around 4.15pm and with growing tension by an irate crowd, SAPS POPs along with Metro [officers] deployed stun grenades to bring order to a tense situation.”
The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) told the Daily Voice they were in a meeting with their members at the time of going to print and couldn’t comment further.