Metered taxis disrupt traffic over Uber

By Sandiso Phaliso Time of article published Jul 14, 2016

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FIFTEEN metered taxi drivers will appear in court today after they were arrested yesterday for blocking the intersection of Wale and Long streets, and demanding that law enforcement impound unlicensed Uber taxis.

Police spokesperson Noloyiso Rwexana said about 50 metered taxi drivers had gathered “illegally”, leading to 15 being arrested when police acted to disperse them.

David Drummond, the representative for the metered taxi drivers, claimed that more than half of the almost 2 000 vehicles did not have operating licences.

He said law enforcement kept impounding Uber taxis, but these vehicles kept coming back.

He said after “frustrations boiled over” yesterday, metered taxi drivers decided to block some roads to get the attention of the government.

Drummond said the metered taxi industry had met Western Cape Transport and Public Works MEC Donald Grant to raise their concerns, but had heard nothing since, even though they had been promised a response within two weeks.

“The (metered taxi) industry itself is not against innovation and technology, but it must happen through the proper legal routes.”

Envincab owner Donny Esterhuizen, who owns four metered taxis, said: “The people are upset, and this might result in violence.”

He said the plan yesterday was to meet Grant.

But when officials from Grant’s office said he would not come, taxi drivers blocked roads in anger and frustration.

Referring to the arrests, Esterhuizen accused the police of using “apartheid tactics”.

Byron La Hoe, the departmental spokesperson for Transport and Public Works, hit out at the protesters, describing their behaviour as “unacceptable”.

Drummond said: “We believe the police were unnecessarily rough.”

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