Durban taxis ‘will resume business’

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IOL pic may21 durban taxi violence Independent Newspapers Clare Estate bus driver Sithembele Saho holds up a brick that smashed through his window and struck him on the shoulder during the taxi driver protest in Market Road, in Durban's Warwick Triangle. Photo: Zane Dawood

Durban - Durban taxis are expected to resume operations on Monday after a strike against the metro police, the Transport Department said.

“In our meeting with taxi operators, drivers and the municipality we agreed that taxis should start operating on Monday,” spokesperson Kwanele Ncalane said on Sunday.

Minibus taxi drivers went on strike on Thursday complaining that metro police were targeting them when issuing traffic fines.

Ncalane said the government and the eThekwini municipality met taxi operators over the weekend to address the memorandum that was handed to the city.

“If taxis are not operating tomorrow then we must look at legal avenues available to the government. Some of their demands are not practical,” he said.

Taxi drivers were demanding that all tickets be issued in IsiZulu, that all present warrants be cancelled and that there should be no traffic enforcement during morning and afternoon peak hours.

Other demands included that no Indians or whites should write tickets because taxi drivers did not speak English, that taxis only be towed if there was a road sign indicating that vehicles would be towed and that they must be allowed to pick up and drop off passengers anywhere.

Ncalane said the country was governed by law and people could not do as they pleased.

“When taxis resume operations we will provide security and monitor operations because we don't want a repeat of last week's violence,” he said.

Chairperson of the KwaZulu-Natal Transport Alliance, Eugene Hadebe, confirmed that taxis would be operating on Monday.

“We are planning to meet with the metro police to formulate a response to the memorandum and we will also engage with taxi operators,” Ncalane said.

About 60 people have been arrested for unrest related to the strike since it started.

On Saturday, about 50 protesters overturned bins and trashed the Besters taxi rank in Phoenix, north of Durban.

“They allegedly threw bottles at the patrol vehicles and with back-up from the flying squad, the group was dispersed and order restored,” said KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker.

Police had to use teargas and stun grenades to disperse about 100 protesters who threw rocks at them on Friday.

Thousands of rush-hour commuters were left stranded in Durban on Thursday night when taxi drivers abandoned their passengers. - Sapa


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