Mob blocks roads, stones cars

151014. Cape Town. Vrygrond residents desperately running to try and escape the hostage situation in Vrygrond to go to work. Taxi owners and drivers held the community hostage forcing them to join in protesting against the City of Cape Town for impounding their taxi's. Residents were stuck and couldnt go to work. Protesters stoned members of their own comunity when spotted trying to go to work. Picture Henk Kruger/Cape Argus

151014. Cape Town. Vrygrond residents desperately running to try and escape the hostage situation in Vrygrond to go to work. Taxi owners and drivers held the community hostage forcing them to join in protesting against the City of Cape Town for impounding their taxi's. Residents were stuck and couldnt go to work. Protesters stoned members of their own comunity when spotted trying to go to work. Picture Henk Kruger/Cape Argus

Published Oct 14, 2015

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Cape Town - Protesters in Vrygrond barricaded several roads with burning tyres and dustbins, preventing many residents from getting to work on time on Wednesday morning. Some motorists also had their cars stoned and windows smashed.

Rowdy demonstrators took over an area across Vrygrond Avenue, Capricorn Avenue and Prince George Drive, apparently because illegal taxis were impounded last week.

A Marina da Gama mother and her son were traumatised after they were “attacked” by the protesters during the morning school run.

”I was taking my son to school, it must have been around 5.30am, it was pitch dark,” said Jeanette Nicholson of Marina da Gama. “I saw a fire on the road and when I tried to turn back I saw about 100 people. The mob then stoned my car. I’m sure 10 stones hit my car.”

Nicholson said no officials were on hand to help or to warn them away from the protest.

“I have never been in this situation before, my son and I are still terrified. He couldn’t even finish his tennis match he had this morning because of the frightening experience.”

Another resident from Capricorn, Calude Shoko, said he is scared to go home after he narrowly escaped harm during the protest.

“When I was driving to work I was told to go home by the protesters, and when I tried to make a turn they came from all directions and smashed my car windows.”

However, the chairman of the Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations, Makhosandile Tumana, said the community had sympathy for the plight of taxi drivers and wanted the impounded vehicles back on the street.

“The protest is organised by the community who feel we were undone last week when our taxis were impounded, and we are here to support the community.

“The government listens when people start burning tyres and protesting. We won’t stop. We’ll fight until kingdom come.”

Mayco member for Safety and Security JP Smith said 19 taxis were impounded last week in Retreat and Vrygrond during a two-day operation.

“No amount of violence can get impounded taxis released because that will set a bad precedent.”

Police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk said about 200 people had gathered at around 5.30am in Vrygrond.

“They are demanding to speak to the Minister of Transport.

“Thus far, there have been no reports of any violence... There have been no arrests at this stage.”

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Cape Argus

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