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EFF’s protest against taxi impoundments in Cape Town draws little support

EFF’s protest against taxi impoundments in Cape Town draws little support
The EFF-organised protest march on the N2, en route to Ndabeni, where impounded taxis are located, on 2 October 2023. (Photo: Kyra Wilkinson)

The EFF staged its protest over taxi impoundments in Cape Town on Monday, but it did not live up to the hype and failed to attract much of a crowd.

The much-anticipated protest organised by the EFF in Cape Town took place on Monday, 2 October, but it did not live up to expectations.

The City of Cape Town allowed the party a protest attendance of 1,000, but only about 300 people turned up.

eff protest ndabeni

The EFF marched to the Ndabeni Municipal Complex in Cape Town on Monday, 2 October 2023. (Photo: Velani Ludidi)

The EFF first called the protest a “Western Cape shutdown” over various grievances, including what they called unjust taxi impoundments. Labelling the protest a shutdown led the ANC and other civic organisations to pull out at the last minute. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Blow to EFF’s Western Cape ‘shutdown’ after ANC and two other bodies pull out

The South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) also withdrew, but was represented by what now seems to be a breakaway faction. Western Cape convener Chris Stali, who joined the protest with some members, said they had dealt with internal disagreements but had never pulled out of the protest.

The PAC, African Transformation Movement, Operation Dudula and liquor traders were also represented.

The protest was scheduled to begin at 9am, but by midday it had not gained momentum. 

Some taxi operators and owners formed part of the protest, but this did not affect the operations of other taxis in ranks around the city. 

EFF provincial secretary Mbulelo Magwala claimed several minibus taxis carrying people to the protest were prevented from attending the event by City of Cape Town traffic officers and law enforcement. 

eff progest

An EFF member marching to Ndabeni on 2 October 2023. (Photo: Kyra Wilkinson)

Four hours after the scheduled start, the more than 12km journey by foot began from Jakes Gerwel Drive to the Ndabeni Transport Deport. 

The EFF wanted minibus taxis travelling behind the march, but the Public Order Police said the permit conditions allowed only marchers. 

After an hour of walking, some protesters became leg-weary and the EFF members began taking breaks, sitting on the side of the road.

It took the protesters more than three hours to reach their destination. Many asked for water from houses they walked past. 

The party had not made provision for water. 

Taxi owner Andile Seyamo said the sector needed all the support it could get as people’s livelihoods depended on the taxi industry.

“The municipality is harsh on us,” he said. “We are the backbone of the transport industry, but instead of being appreciated, we are treated unfairly. I am happy that there are organisations that are fighting for us as we have been alone for a long time.”

eff protest

EFF members gather at the open field on the corner of Heideveld Road and Volstruis Road in Bridgetown opposite Vangate Mall on 2 October 2023 before marching to Ndabeni. (Photo: Kyra Wilkinson)

Reading from the memorandum, Magwala said the marchers were strongly opposed to the new by-law introduced by the City of Cape Town, which broadened the powers of traffic officers to impound taxis, which he described as harsh.

“This by-law has also resulted in the misuse of power and a number of taxis are victimised and impounded each day by the Democratic Alliance-led City of Cape Town administration.”

Read more in Daily Maverick: Why Santaco views taxi strike as more than just a fight against a new City of Cape Town by-law

Hundreds of minibus taxis are impounded every week by the City of Cape Town. Critics say that in many cases these impoundments are unjust and frivolous as they are not in line with the National Road Traffic Act.

The municipality has maintained that all drivers and owners who feel that their taxis were impounded for frivolous reasons could approach the office of the mayor with evidence, to have those vehicles potentially released.

eff march

EFF, PAC, Land Party, ATM and Sanco members march on the N2 on 2 October 2023. (Photo: Kyra Wilkinson)

While the issue of taxi impoundments was at the forefront of the protest, the EFF mentioned that the rise in electricity tariffs and lack of service delivery in certain areas were among their grievances.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Capetonians take to the street to voice their grievances about the 17.6% rise in electricity prices

EFF secretary-general Marshall Dlamini hit out at the ANC for pulling out of the protest, calling them sellouts.

“They (ANC councillors) represent you (taxi drivers), but they are not here today,” he said. “They decided to side with DA and you must know them for who they are. The taxis are our pride, this is the only business we own.”

He said the protest was just a start. More demonstrations would come as the EFF wanted all impounded taxis released. 

eff march

South African Police Service officers watch the beginning of the march on Jakes Gerwel Drive on 2 October 2023. (Photo: Kyra Wilkinson)

Mayoral Committee Member for Urban Mobility Rob Quintas accepted the memorandum. As he tried to respond to some of the demands, EFF Western Cape provincial chairperson Unathi Ntame took the mic from his hand and said Quintas’s responsibility was just to accept the memorandum and not address the crowd.

“The only directive that we are giving him is to cancel that summit,” Ntame said, referring to the minibus taxi task team that was established to resolve the disputes between the parties. The forum includes the taxi industry, the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape government.

Provincial South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) chairperson Mandla Hermanus said they were happy with the progress made by the task team and were convinced that they were reaching common ground. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Ben Harper says:

    Hahaha, what a great turn-out!

  • Denise Smit says:

    It is disengenious of the writer to say at this stage that hundreds of taxis are impounded every week at this stage. This was two months ago before the taxi strike and lots of common ground has been found with the taxi industry since then. Why do you misrepresent the facts. Have you taken trouble to update your information? Denise Smit

  • Denise Smit says:

    This shows how sick and tired everybody is of breaking down, destruction ways of the ANC/EFF. The Western Cape does not want to be in the same state as the whole of Gauteng, Mangaung, North West, Nelson Mandela Bay, Ghiani ,Ethikwini,Mpumalanga cities, Buffalo Bay where the ANC/EFF governs and everything is broken down to the ground. Denise Smit

  • Middle aged Mike says:

    Has a greater word count ever been dedicated to a less deserving event in the history of journalism? Asking for a friend not as prone to hyperbole as me. I credit at least some of the EFF’s relative success with the disproportionate level of media attention they receive.

    • William H says:

      Absolutely agree with this statement. A lot of the EFF’s “success” is due to the media who keeps this lot and their leader in the spotlight. The EFF is the biggest hoax in political history. All they’re fighting for is their own economic freedom, how else could Malema afford the fancy European clothes and watches and cars he loves so much. Ironic and sad that a party who fights for the poor is walking billboard for European luxury goods.

  • jcdville stormers says:

    They are not relevant in the Western Cape

  • Mark Cowell says:

    Couldn’t organise water for a 12km protest march, but no problems getting French champagne for Juju and his mates to sip at the 10th anniversary piss-up……move on DM, nothing to report here (apart from the stolen VBS money).

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