Maverick Citizen

TAXI VIOLENCE

Golden Arrow reduces bus services after Cape Town driver shot in the mouth

On Monday morning a Golden Arrow bus driver was shot in the mouth by gunmen on the N2 in Cape Town. (Photo: Natalie Malgas)

‘There are suggestions that some in the taxi industry are driving the violence to have a complete monopoly of the industry,’ says Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security JP Smith.

On Saturday, 17 July, the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata) and the Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations (Codeta) had talks with Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula and Western Cape Transport MEC Daylin Mitchell about who should operate the contentious B97 route between Bellville and Mbekweni. 

But a report-back scheduled for Monday was cancelled after an attack on a Golden Arrow Bus Services driver.

The window inside a Golden Arrow bus was shattered after a bus driver was wounded on Monday morning on the N2 in Cape Town. (Photo: Natalie Malgas)

The driver was shot in the mouth on the N2 highway between Borcherds Quarry and the Airport Approach Road in Cape Town, about 100m from an informal settlement, on Monday at about 6.30am. 

Video footage showed the moment the bullet struck the driver, who then slumped on to the steering wheel before managing to stop the bus. Afterwards, he talked to passengers with blood streaming from his mouth. 

Golden Arrow spokesperson John Dammert said the incident had been reported to the police and that the driver had received medical attention. No passengers were injured.

“Intelligence reports suggest that this incident could be related to the ongoing [taxi-related] violence,” said Dammert.

Late on Monday, Golden Arrow issued a second statement saying that further threats and intimidation had been made on social media and services had been disrupted.

One of five firearms the City of Cape Town confiscated from suspects in the ongoing taxi violence on the N2 highway. (Photo: City of Cape Town)

Reduced services would be operated in the meantime.

Meanwhile, also on Monday, a private taxi transporting workers was fired at from the Langa taxi rank. 

A private taxi driver, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “We are aware that taxi violence will spill to our sector. We have been warned not to operate in areas affected by the Cata and Codeta taxi violence.”

Police spokesperson Joseph Swartbooi confirmed the shooting. Two males, aged 45 and 55, have been arrested and will appear in the Bishop Lavis Magistrates’ Court.

The attacks on private taxi operators have affected health services in the Western Cape. 

A health worker tweeted, “The health work in communities is crippled by staff not being able to attend work and community-based sites and clinics due to lack of transport and safety concerns. This is fuelling the HIV/TB/STI/Covid-19 battle”.

City of Cape Town Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security JP Smith said: “The ongoing violence can be seen as a systematic plan similar to that used to destroy Metrorail infrastructure and carriages.

“There are suggestions that some in the taxi industry are driving the violence to have a complete monopoly of the industry.” 

He said it was imperative that the SAPS determined who was fuelling the violence and arrested the masterminds.

Ricardo MacKenzie the Democratic Party’s Western Cape spokesperson on Transport and Public Works, said the taxi violence could not be allowed to threaten the lives and livelihoods of hardworking people. (Photo: Supplied)

Ricardo Mackenzie, the DA Western Cape spokesperson on transport and public works, said: “We also support MEC Mitchell’s consideration in using Section 91 of the National Land Transport Act to close specific taxi ranks and routes which have seen increased prevalence of violence.

“This is a last resort and isn’t a permanent solution to the problem we face. Taxi violence has been devastating to communities and businesses who rely on this means of transport.

“Over the past eight years, there has been a 16% increase in taxi use, which has coincided with a 64% decrease in train usage within that same timeframe. The collapse of our public transport infrastructure, specifically that of Metrorail, has resulted in immense strain on taxi operators,” he said.

Mackenzie intends inviting the South African National Taxi Council as well as the provincial and national transport departments to brief the Standing Committee of Transport and Public Works.

Premier Alan Winde underlined that taxi violence had been a “big issue all the way through last week” and continued to be his focus.

“MEC Mitchell has been meeting with his department and the various taxi industry players to find a truce to find a way forward. We will continue to do so because it is absolutely unacceptable that we have this violence.”

Anyone with information on taxi violence can call Crime Stop on 08600 10111. DM/MC

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