Four buses, three trucks and three bakkies, as well as an ambulance have been attacked with petrol bombs, according to the Cape Town City Council’s mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith.
“In the last two hours, we have responded to a blockade of the N2 by taxi drivers, numerous vehicles being set alight and sporadic incidents of stone-throwing.
“This includes petrol bomb attacks on four buses, three trucks and three panel vans or bakkies, as well as an ambulance.
“We also saw a Coca-Cola truck looted and an attack on a school,” said Smith.
Commuters were scrambling for transport to get home in the CBD in the afternoon traffic peak.
This comes after taxi bosses resolved that all taxis withdraw their services, following violent clashes with City law enforcement officers after 15 vehicles were impounded on Monday afternoon.
Drivers reported that there was a big operation by law enforcement that ended at the entrance to the station deck, where drivers who were inside the rank could not move out without going through a “checkpoint”.
They accused Smith of being consumed with his own sense of power and privilege and a deep-seated hatred for the taxi industry, which he often brands as thugs, Mafia and criminals.
In a statement on Thursday, Smith said the City would avail as many resources as possible to provide escorts to other public transport operators including the Golden Arrow and MyCiti bus services, to mitigate the risk of attacks.
“These actions speak of thuggery, criminality and contempt for the safety of all commuters and road users.
“These shameful and cowardly acts must be placed before the leadership of Santaco (SA National Taxi Council) and the taxi associations involved.
“Investigative resources are being deployed to areas of conflict, to assist SAPS with evidence gathering and tracking of instigators and arsonists.
“Unmarked enforcement vehicles have been deployed into rush hour congestion to monitor the situation and ensure the safety of motorists travelling home,” he said.
Meanwhile Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis said the City was in the process of seeking an urgent court interdict against the violence.
“The City of Cape Town condemns the violence and disruption perpetrated by Santaco associated drivers and operators today, following their call for a taxi stay away.
“We will work with the SAPS to enforce the law and hold anyone guilty of perpetrating public violence accountable.
“We will also not hesitate to lay a civil claim for any damages to infrastructure resulting from this strike,” Hill-Lewis said.