By: Francesca Villette
Cape Town - An association that represents more than 400 amaphela (cockroach) taxi drivers says the City did not tell them it was going to destroy 44 impounded sedan taxis.
Sedan taxis are referred to as amaphela because there are so many of them in the city. The abandoned impounded taxis were reduced to blocks of scrap metal on Monday by an 18-ton crusher at the City’s vehicle pound in Ndabeni, near Pinelands.
The City’s Traffic Service destroyed the taxis, many of which were impounded between 2010 and 2012 and left unclaimed by their owners.
Mongi Titi, chairperson of the Kiki Murray Committee, which represents the drivers, said the association had not been informed about the destruction.
“The vehicles that were crushed belong to people who have been in the industry for a long time. Amaphela drivers were not included in the taxi recapitalisation programme. We have made strides in doing away with amaphelas and replacing them with new vehicles, but this comes as a major shock to us,” Titi said.
The City’s mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith, said attempts were made to contact the owners. Operators were initially given R50 000 to scrap their old taxis.
“By law, this exercise could have been done a long time ago, but space at the pound has not been an issue.”