Taxi unions have accused the City of Cape Town of being extortionists and hooligans following a violent stand-off in the Cape Town CBD between the two parties on Tuesday.
Deputy chairperson Nceba Enge said Santaco (South African National Taxi Council) are kwaad after a video of City officials allegedly moering taxi drivers and breaking a taxi’s windows was shared on social media.
“How can you spin something like you were looking for drivers who were hiding in the taxi? So then why break the windows?” asked Enge.
He accused the City of displaying characteristics of extortionists.
“We applied for permits, we followed procedure, but now our vans are being impounded for a small thing like a mirror or number plates not being fitted securely, then we have to pay R10 000 for it to be released,” Enge added. “These people say we’re extortionists, but they are the true ones extorting us!”
However, Mayco member for Safety, JP Smith, said things got out of hand on Tuesday after a traffic cop was assaulted by drivers.
“The City’s Traffic Services impounded 15 public transport vehicles in the area, resulting in a blockade by taxi drivers on the station deck taxi rank and surrounds,” he explained.
“Officers came under fire and responded using stun grenades and tear gas.
“It was then discovered that several of the suspects had locked themselves in a taxi and senior SAPS officials ordered members to breach the vehicle.
“Officers responded by breaking a window and removing the occupants from the vehicle.
“Several suspects were taken into custody.
MEC for Mobility, Ricardo Mackenzie, confirmed that Santaco withdrew from the Minibus Taxi Task Team. He said they were disappointed at the decision.
Enge confirmed their withdrawal, saying the decision was based on delay in permit issuing and the impounding of their vehicles.