Cape Town traffic cop shoots taxi operator in scuffle as tensions rise after new traffic by-laws implemented

Metro police vehicles standing alongside taxis blocking roads in the Cape Town CBD.

Cape Town traffic came to a standstill on Tuesday afternoon when taxi drivers and law enforcement officials clashed after several minibus taxis were impounded around the CBD. Picture: Armand Hough / African News Agency (ANA)

Published Aug 2, 2023


On the brink of the chaos caused in the Cape Town CBD, a shooting incident involving a taxi operator occurred on Wednesday.

Mayoral committee member for safety and security, Alderman JP Smith said at 9am two traffic officers conducted a routine traffic stop where a taxi disobeyed a red traffic light at the corners of Jan Smuts Drive and Govan Mbeki Road.

He said while the traffic officers attempted to issue a fine, the driver of the minibus taxi and his passenger became riotous and started assaulting the officers.

“During the scuffle, one of the officers fired two shots, wounding one of the attackers in the leg. Both suspects were detained at Philippi SAPS. The officers sustained some bruises and scratches during the altercation,” Smith said.

“This brazen attack comes on the back of yesterday’s chaos in the CBD, where taxi drivers also assaulted a traffic officer and staged a blockade in response to enforcement operations.

“These tactics are well documented, with numerous examples over the years of staff being attacked in retaliation to operations. I have said it before, and will reiterate it once more – we will not bow to intimidation by anyone who thinks that they have a right to break the law and not face the consequences,” he said.

On Tuesday afternoon, minibus taxi operators blocked roads around the Station Deck and prevented MyCiTi buses and other vehicles from exiting the CBD.

This comes after the City’s implementation of the new amended traffic by-law 2021.

So what is the newly amended traffic by-law?

The newly amended traffic by-law means vehicles missing number plates or number plates not securely fixed, can still get fined, but now, also impounded.

Vehicles that are unroadworthy, have defective lights and are not according to the original South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) specifications, and are illegally modified, can now also get impounded, and not just fined as before.

“Unlicensed vehicles, unlicensed drivers, vehicle gets impounded. For the illegal street racers, even just being a spectator at these events, it's all now covered under the Traffic by-law. As is wheel spinning or drifting.

“Failing to stop when ordered to do so, reckless and negligent driving or driving under the Influence (DUI) means you not only get arrested, but your vehicle gets impounded until your court proceedings are complete - then only can you pay your impoundment fees and retrieve your vehicle. And sometimes these court cases can take several years,” Smith said.

He said this is an effort to turn the trend of insolence and carnage on the roads of Cape Town.

The amended by-law 2021 was passed and promulgated in 2022.

“These penalty amounts have now been passed and published in the tariff schedules for the 2023 financial year that began in July.

“With the harsh action intended to bring about lasting reform, the amended traffic by-law is the long-awaited answer to the majority of lawful motorists who long to see an improvement in road safety,” Smith added.

On Wednesday, Police Minister Bheki Cele visited the Bellville taxi rank.

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