South Africa

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

Ten vehicles set alight in two days of Cape Town taxi protests

Seven vehicles were torched, allegedly by Nyanga taxi drivers, on Wednesday. Five were on Govan Mbeki Road and two on Klipfontein Road. Photo: Xabiso Mkhabela

The City of Cape Town and the police are monitoring a protest related to the impounding of taxis, following stone throwing and the setting alight of private and government vehicles in Nyanga.

Seven vehicles were set alight on Wednesday in Nyanga, including vehicles belonging to the municipality. This brings the number torched to 10 over two days.

The action is the continuation of a protest which started last week, during which three Golden Arrow buses and a company bakkie were damaged, reported GroundUp

Transport and Public Works MEC, Daylin Mitchell, has called an urgent meeting with the SA National Taxi Council for Thursday after meeting officials earlier on Wednesday to assess the situation, according to a statement from his office.  “Several busses, government vehicles and private vehicles have been set alight and stoned by irate taxi operators since the unrest was reported last week, ” he said, adding that commuter safety was his “top priority”.

Warrant Officer Joseph Swartbooi from the SAPS Western Cape media centre told Daily Maverick: “The protest action is a response to an integrated taxi operation that was conducted in the Nyanga precinct, where vehicles were impounded for operating without permits.”

Swartbooi said the protest was ongoing and an integrated law enforcement operation presence was on the scene. No suspects had been arrested. 

Police investigate the scene where seven vehicles were allegedly set alight by Nyanga taxi drivers on Wednesday morning. Photo: Xabiso Mkhabela

Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said on Wednesday morning the Golden Arrow buses had to be moved to the side of the road to safeguard them. He said he had joined City enforcement along with the SAPS in an operation to “stabilise the public transport situation in Nyanga and to protect the buses from intimidation and attack”.  

“During peak-hour traffic one or more Avanza vehicles moved about petrol-bombing private vehicles and it appears that as many as seven were torched this morning – two belonging to the City and five private vehicles.” 

Smith said this “absolutely cowardly and criminal behaviour is reprehensible” and put the lives of commuters and others at risk.

One of the vehicles petrol-bombed during a taxi protest in Nyanga on Wednesday. Photo: Xabiso Mkhabela

“The criminal action of torching one of the private vehicles in turn caused  an informal residence adjacent to Klipfontein Road to catch light… the fire department responded and the vehicles were doused,” he said.

In total, there have been 10 cars burnt, after three cars were torched on Tuesday, according to GroundUp.

The City confirmed all roads were open in the area, but visibility is being maintained. 

Anderson Seyamo, spokesperson for the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association, the dominant taxi operator in the Nyanga area and , said they were operating as normal. “I don’t know why they’re involving us,” he said. DM

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  • Ten vehicles burned. Not one person arrested?
    Amazing how police managed to arrest people for going to the beach, but these people get away scot free!
    Is it a matter of priorities?

  • This is what happens when on a national scale you allow taxi operators to get away (literally) with murder, and now you try and enforce a permit system at provincial level. A harsh line needs to be drawn and maintained – continue impounding these illegal vehicles with stiff release fines, and they will soon comply.

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