Transport availability is a hellish nightmare for many Cape Town commuters. From frequent bus strikes to burning trains rolling into a station, to say those who rely on public transport are negatively impacted by these stalls is a huuuuge understatement.
But now, with the rise in the conflict between rival taxi industries, allegedly over routes, Capetonians are bearing the brunt of the transport burden … again.
Taxi violence isn’t anything new in the Mother City: back in October 1990, a shootout between Lagunya and Webta taxi operators outside the Golden Acre shopping mall in the city centre also occurred over routes.
However, this most recent taxi war, which is related to a conflict between rival associations that include Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (CATA) and Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations (Codeta), stems from the assassinations of two taxi drivers on May 14 at the Delft Taxi Rank.
This has led to other taxi drivers staying off the road, meaning commuters are left out in the cold, reports The Daily Maverick.
A Nyanga taxi driver wishing to remain anonymous said:
Taxis have not been operating since Saturday morning. We fear for our lives because we don’t know who is behind the killings and why we are being targeted …
We were told that the shooters get on a taxi, pay the taxi fare and then shoot him (the driver). We believe there are no specific targeted persons, but any drivers operating in the Nyanga, Gugulethu and Philippi East are targets.
He’s right about that.
Six people in Philippi were shot and killed, while Nyanga comes second with at least three deaths. There have also been shootings in Khayelitsha and Wynberg, with the city areas mostly shielded from the impact. At least 13 people have lost their lives.
And commuters are getting caught in the crossfire, too. A 35-year-old commuter was shot and injured on the corner of Emms Drive and Terminus Road in Nyanga last Friday.
Bloody hectic stuff. So what’s being done about it?
Per the report:
In an effort to stabilise the situation, Western Cape Transport MEC Donald Grant has threatened to shut down problematic taxi ranks in Cape Town. Noting that the violence has reached crisis proportions, Grant was quoted as saying:
“I’m giving notice of my intention, based on evidence, to close certain ranks and routes to shut them down.”
…Since the start of April, the city’s traffic services had issued 1 811 fines to taxi drivers in Delft, and impounded 20 vehicles.
“Officers have also executed 197 warrants, with a monetary value of R397 240. This resulted in 18 arrests and 74 others were released with a warning,” said JP Smith [of the mayoral committee for safety and security in the City of Cape Town].
Great, but what about the taxi industry itself?
Codeta spokesperson Andile Khanyi has called for an end to the taxi violence:
Within Codeta there is no fighting, so we don’t know why these killings keep on happening, I got a phone call to say that one of our guys was killed.
We are waiting for police to come and speak to us. We’re willing to work with them to end this violence.
No word from CATA, though.
The transport struggle is indeed real for Capetonian commuters. Let’s hope the taxi industry sorts itself out for their sake.
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