File picture: Bheki Radebe / African News Agency
File picture: Bheki Radebe / African News Agency

Ban on Avanza taxis lifted in Gugulethu after ‘unsubstantiated rape claim’ led to stoning

By Odwa Mkentane Time of article published Jan 30, 2020

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Cape Town – Avanza taxis are back on their routes in Gugulethu.

Kiki Murray Taxi Association chairperson Vincent Mkhangeli said taxis had been allowed back in the area after a short ban following an allegation that a 13-year-old had been raped by a driver and his friends.

While police said no case had been opened for investigation, several meetings were held between community leaders and taxi associations, and yesterday it was decided that the taxis should return to the community after the claim could not be substantiated.

Under the umbrella of the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association, Mkhangeli welcomed the decision.

“As a taxi association, we need to co-operate with the residents. We concluded that we brand our taxis so that they can be easily identified in case of crimes and unlawful activities.

“It is our responsibility as taxi owners that we screen the people we hire. It is true that some of our drivers commit crimes while driving taxis.

"We urge the community to co-operate with us if they have any concerns about the taxis. People should verify the information they have before making false allegations.

“The meetings were vital because we got the chance to hear other cries of the community, which I think are important and need to be attended to attentively as soon as possible,” Mkhangeli said.

Thembokwezi Residents Association chairperson Kholekile Mwahla said he was still concerned about the safety of residents.

“Our support for this march was not based on the rape incident. Many times we have complained of Avanza taxis committing crimes in our areas, especially in Gugulethu and Philippi, where they are dominant.

“We have requested police officers and taxi associations to closely look at the crimes committed by the drivers, but we have not been heard, and this was the time for our complaints to be heard. 

“Taxi drivers do not obey road rules and some are involved in criminal activities, that is why we ask them (taxi owners) to check if their employees do not have criminal records and if they are fit to be in the taxi industry.”

The Gugulethu Development Forum refused to comment on the matter.

Cape Times

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