As thousands of commuters bear the brunt of the taxi violence under way across Cape Town, further incidents of violence have been reported in the city on Friday.
A bus driver was shot and a vehicle was set alight on Friday morning amid ongoing anger by taxi associations in Cape Town over new by-laws that have seen scores of minibus taxis impounded.
In addition, traffic to and from the city was backed up as the N2 was closed in both directions between Hazeldene and Onverwacht roads.
Motorists are advised to seek alternative routes and proceed with caution.
On Thursday, the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) announced a stay-away until August 10.
This decision comes after a meeting was held at the Desmond Tutu Community Hall in Makhaza, Khayelitsha and was attended by taxi associations from all eight regions.
The stay-away was implemented with immediate effect and commuters across the province were left stranded, many forced to walk home due to no transport.
On Friday, mayoral committee member for safety and security, Alderman JP Smith said enforcement services had reported multiple incidents.
“A bus driver shot and the vehicle set alight in Khayelitsha. Incidents of burning tyres in Atlantis, Bloekombos, Witsand and Borcherds Quarry, as well as a vehicle alight in Langa.
“Stone-throwing along the N7 in the vicinity of Du Noon,” Smith said.
Traffic services confirmed the N7 has been closed in both directions on Plattekloof and Malibongwe Drive.
Smith said enforcement agencies continue to maintain a high visibility presence in all hotspot areas and are working closely with the SAPS to monitor and respond to any incidents that occur.
Buses are also being escorted to ensure the safety of commuters.
“The events that have unfolded since yesterday afternoon only serve to confirm that the taxi industry has no regard for anyone.
“The callous attacks on other public transport vehicles, infrastructure and road users have sadly become an all too familiar part of their play-book.
“The City calls on anyone with information about the instigators behind these attacks and disruptions, to please report it to the City’s toll-free tip-off line, so that they can be prosecuted.
“Tips can be shared anonymously, and the City also offers rewards of up to R5,000 for credible information that leads to arrests or convictions. That number is 080 011 0077,” Smith said.
The spokesperson for the Golden Arrow Bus Service (Gabs), Bronwen Dyke-Beyer confirmed two of its buses were set alight in Khayelitsha on Friday morning.
“Golden Arrow can confirm that two of our buses were set alight this morning in Khayelitsha and that a bus driver sustained a gunshot wound to his leg and is receiving medical attention.
“The situation remains volatile and we are therefore operating our Nyanga services from Borcherds Quarry. Khayelitsha services are operating from Mew Way Bridge and corners of Spine Road and N2,” Dyke-Beyer said.
She said it was the bus company’s intention to operate on all routes with diversions in place.
“Unfortunately, we will not be able to confirm whether each scheduled bus will operate as it normally does, but our aim is to provide as much coverage as possible. We will continue to operate until as many passengers as possible have been assisted. Delays are to be expected.
“We are receiving support from the authorities and we call on them to continue to provide us with all of the resources needed to keep our employees and passengers safe as we work towards making sure no one is left behind,” Dyke-Beyer said.
The provincial police spokesperson, Colonel Andrè Traut said SAPS members are out in full force across the province to maintain law and order.
“Our focus will be on all affected areas such as Harare, Khayelitsha and Langa, with special emphasis on the City Centre to ensure that no disruption takes place.
“Several incidents of public violence have been recorded where buses, trucks and private vehicles have been torched and stoned in Khayelitsha, Harare, Wynberg, Atlantis, Hout Bay and Milnerton and elsewhere in the Peninsula.
“All the incidents of public violence reported since yesterday are under police investigation in a bid to bring the perpetrators to book. CCTV footage, forensic evidence and other leads are being pursued in this regard,” Traut said.
He also urged anyone who has fallen victim to a crime associated with the strike action to report it to the police immediately so it can be investigated.
Police urge members of the public to remain vigilant at all times and apply the necessary personal protection.
“SAPS would like to ensure the Western Cape community that our members will remain on high alert and deployed to bring to an end any acts of violence that may threaten their safety.
“We will not tolerate any acts of criminality and in the event of crime taking place, our officials will not hesitate to take decisive action,” Traut said.