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Cape Town - Transport and Public Works MEC Robin Carlisle has suspended the application for new and renewed licences of three associations operating at the Bellville taxi ranks.
Taxi drivers and commuters say their lives are in danger after a shooting incident on Monday allegedly between rival groups within the Bellville Taxi Association.
While there were no injuries on Monday, Carlisle said on Wednesday the Cata Bellville, Bloekombos/Wallacedene and Durbanville taxi associations would no longer be able to apply for new licences or renew licences.
“Taxis were forcibly removed from the rank, shots were fired, several threats were made and a Provincial Regulating Entity official was intimidated and assaulted. This follows a long period of intense engagement with the associations,” he said.
Carlisle said law enforcement would increase operations at the rank.
Last year Carlisle placed a two-month ban on the processing of operating licences for several Bellville routes.
Between June and October, four taxi operators were killed in a quarrel over the routes. The ban was lifted in December after violence subsided.
Earlier this year three members of the industry were murdered and others wounded.
Tensions were high at the Bellville rank yesterday and several taxi drivers refused to comment.
About five police vans and law enforcement cars were patrolling near the rank.
A group of drivers, who asked not to be named for fear of being targeted, said they were losing customers.
“People are scared to use taxis because they hear that there is shooting. But it’s only a small group that is causing trouble for everyone,” they said. They added that police patrols had no effect.
Commuter Elizabeth George, 64 said: “I’m scared when I get out of a taxi because the drivers hate each other and fight so we have nothing to do with it. I came from shopping and got all my pay in the week when they started shooting. People were running everywhere, I had to keep my bags because I could’ve been robbed.” But George said there was no alternative transport.
Meanwhile, the acting chairman of the Bellville Taxi Association, Justice Ngubo, said the restrictions “crippled” them as they lost a substantial amount of money last year.
“This is not a solution to the problem. The group that was involved in the shooting (Monday) apologised to the association. They will go through the channels of discipline.”