300 taxis block Cape Town road amid ongoing tension at Bellville rank
Cape Town - Amid ongoing tension at the Bellville taxi rank, 300 minibus taxis blockaded the R300 and Mew Way road on Tuesday, after they were asked to move back to the station.
The drivers involved cited safety concerns and allegedly refused to go back to the station and had to be escorted back to Khayelitsha.
Police spokesperson Noloyiso Rwexana said public order police monitored the situation in Mew Way and remained in the area until the road was cleared.
SA National Taxi Council provincial spokesperson Gershon Geyer said there was a stand-off between the Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations (Codeta) and the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata) at the Bellville rank.
Geyer claimed that Codeta drivers removed their vehicles from the line a few weeks ago and were loading on a field close to the rank.
He said they were asked by the police and law enforcement officers to move back to the rank but refused, saying they did not feel safe to do so.
"So they removed the vehicles today and were escorted by the police back to Khayelitsha," said Geyer, adding the stand-off was related to the Paarl/Bellville issue that was not yet sorted.
"A proposal was given to the Transport and Public Works MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela last week from both parties. Unfortunately he has been out of town for a few days.
“He will be back by tomorrow and hopefully will come with a solution to solve these issues," Geyer said.
The Cape Argus contacted Madikizel, and his spokesperson, Ntomboxolo Makoba-Somdaka, but they could not be reached for comment.
Codeta spokesperson Besuthu Ndungane claimed that their drivers were threatened by drivers from Cata. He said Cata intimidated their passengers.
"The drivers were then forced to take their taxis to the owners because they were not safe," Ndungane said.
Cata secretary Mandla Hermanus said he was not sure what happened today, however, he said it's been over a week since Codeta had been operating from a piece of land at the Belrail Road and had been opposing any attempts to move to the taxi rank, citing safety concerns following a spate of violent incidents at the rank.
"We understand that law enforcement instructed the operators to move to the rank. Apparently instead of going to the rank, the drivers formed a motorcade and drove to Site C in Khayelitsha. I don't know what the motive was," Hermanus said.
Transport and Public Works spokesperson Jandré Bakker said the department was investigating the matter, and would revert back as soon as they "have all the facts".