City of Cape Town on 'high alert' for another taxi blockade on Tuesday
Cape Town – The City has been unable to confirm the notice in circulation warning of another taxi blockade/strike on Tuesday but is nevertheless on high alert, mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said on Monday.
According to a notice on social media, Tuesday's taxi strike, which will supposedly be held from 10am until 2pm, will begin in Khayelitsha and end in the CBD.
Similar to Friday afternoon's taxi blockade, they have been sparked by grievances over the industry being on the receiving end of huge fines and the impounding of taxis.
However, Andile Soyama, of the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association, told the Cape Times there is no confirmation yet on whether Tuesday's strike will take place.
"No, we don't know yet if the strike will take place. It will depend on the outcome of the meeting that is being held with the provincial department of transport today. We will only know later this afternoon."
Smith said the City's staff "will act in support of the South African Police Service to minimise any potential disruptions that may result from any unlawful behaviour".
"We remind the public that SAPS are the primary agency responsible for public order policing and that the City plays a supporting role.
"As we have said before, we cannot be held to ransom by elements within the taxi industry who insist on breaking the law and not taking accountability for their actions."
He said at the weekend he had approached MEC for Transport and Public Works Bonginkosi Madikizela to engage with taxi operators.
“I have met with the taxi associations before but the talks were not productive. The engagement that needs to happen must be on a licensed and regulatory level.
"We can’t exempt people from enforcement. I don’t have the figures for the number of fines issued as this figure is never static.
“I can, however, say that the figures owed by taxi operators is proportionately large and this is due to them spending more time on the roads and other factors, including not paying other fines,” said Smith.
On Friday, drivers blocked Nelson Mandela Boulevard, the Cape Town station deck and Raapenberg Road, while tyres were set alight at Bunga Avenue, leading to widespread traffic chaos from lunchtime until early in the evening
Soyama said they were frustrated by exorbitant and “unnecessary” fines.
“This is a really frustrating issue and we want our voices to be heard by the authorities,” said Soyama.
“Blocking all major roads was the only way that we could make our voices heard and make authorities sit up and listen.”