Cape Town - The taxi industry has distanced itself from the unrest under way in Nyanga in Cape Town.
In a statement released on Thursday, MEC for Transport and Public Works Daylin Mitchell said he had met with the taxi industry in an effort to resolve the ongoing violence.
He said the violence has caused serious disruptions and unrest in the community and has seen buses, government vehicles as well as private vehicles set alight in the Nyanga area since last week.
“The taxi industry leaders joined me in condemning the violence in the strongest possible terms as well as the criminal acts that have been reported in the last few days.
“The taxi industry is on record as distancing itself from the violence and criminal acts that are currently happening in the area,” Mitchell said.
He said it was important to note that the unrest was not only about transport issues but also the result of criminal activity.
Mitchell said he has a duty to protect public transport commuters and other road users. Should the violence persist, he will exercise his power and invoke Section 91 of the National Land Transport Act in the interest of bringing stability and peace to the area, he warned.
This Act will empower Mitchell to identify and close down taxi ranks and routes affected by the disruptions.
He added, however, that there will be ongoing discussions with the taxi industry to find lasting solutions to concerns raised.
Bearing the brunt of the violence has been the Golden Arrow Bus Service (GABS), which has had to refrain from entering the area.
GABS spokesperson Bronwen Dyke-Beyer said that since Friday at least 75 buses have been damaged as a result of stone-throwing, one bus had its tyres slashed and three company vehicles and a bus were set alight.
She told African News Agency (ANA) that costs of damages incurred have not yet been fully calculated.
The bus service for commuters in the area has been running from Borcherds Quarry.
“This cannot continue, though, as our passengers are being forced to walk long distances in order to access our services or get home after work. Given the state of the economy it is completely unacceptable for our passengers' livelihoods to be jeopardised by late-coming as a result of this lawlessness,” Dyke-Beyer said.
The bus company is imploring authorities to normalise the situation and make it clear that criminality will not be tolerated.
Mayoral committee member for safety and security Alderman JP Smith said the City of Cape Town’s law-enforcement agencies along with the South African Police Service (SAPS) were monitoring the area.
“It is unthinkable that criminal elements can create chaos and endanger lives in the manner that they have over the past few days and get away with it,” Smith said.
African News Agency (ANA)