While political parties condemned the violence and damage to property accompanying the taxi strike, some put the blame for the unrest squarely on the DA-led City and condemned statements by Safety and Security Mayco Member JP Smith.
Smith last week said the City would impound 25 vehicles for each truck, bus or property vandalised.
DA provincial chairperson Jaco Londt said: “We fully support and endorse the efforts from our government to ensure that we are not just a party that pays lip service to the rule of law, but a government that demonstrates their commitment thereto.”
Londt would not be drawn into commenting further other than refer questions “to the office-bearers from the party handling this matter”.
ActionSA provincial chairperson Michelle Wasserman condemned what she described as an “irresponsible threat” made by Smith.
“This irrational and ill-conceived statement simply threw fuel on a fire that is already devastating the Western Cape,” she said.
“ActionSA calls for calm and urges all parties to go back to the negotiating table in order to urgently find an agreed way forward, as the casualties of this war between the City and the taxi industry are the residents of the Western Cape, with the poorest and most vulnerable being the most severely affected.”
EFF provincial chairperson Unathi Ntame did not mince his words when he accused the City of victimising the taxi industry.
“The City is a direct cause of the protest as for a long time it has consistently and deliberately delayed the issuing of taxi operating permits with the aim to frustrate the taxi industry and give an advantage to the bus transport model system which they benefit from.”
Ntame said they strongly opposed the city’s by-law that provided for “frivolous” impounding of mini taxis instead of issuing fines.
“This by-law has also resulted in the misuse of power and a number of taxis are victimised and impounded each day by the DA-led administration,” Ntame said.
“We urge all the relevant parties to prioritise peace, non-violence and the need to form a formidable working solution to the current crisis in order for the residents’ lives to return to normal.”
Al Jama-ah leader Ganief Hendricks said while they condemned the violence, the metro should take responsibility.
He also called on the taxi industry to refrain from stopping other transport systems from operating.
GOOD party councilor Jonathan Cupido said Smith’s comments on revenging the burning of vehicles or property by impounding taxis, suggested vehicles were impounded merely to prove a point, not for the safety of road users.
“GOOD agrees that the city needs rules, but we maintain that all road users must be treated equally across the board,” Cupido said.
“The City has chosen to circumvent the courts by proceeding straight to vehicle impoundment instead of traffic fines. If history is anything, the city’s traffic fine system was far from perfect,” Cupido added.
Freedom Front Plus’ Lennit Max said his party condemned the damage to property, saying there was no justification for any grievance to do so.