Mashaba says City of Joburg impounding taxis to enforce law and order. Picture: Supplied
Johannesburg - Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba was left seething after a desperate taxi owner escaped arrest when he produced “fraudulent” papers to officials to allow the release of his impounded vehicle.

The incident, which happened at the Joburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) offices, on Monday exposed how corruption continued to happen daily under the very nose of the traffic officials.

On Tuesday, the owner of a taxi, which was impounded 10 days ago, sent a representative to the JMPD vehicle compound in Selby with new roadworthy papers and a newly issued licence, despite the vehicle having been parked in the pound.

Reacting angrily to this during a visit to the vehicle pound on Monday, Mashaba said the man who attempted to collect the vehicle with the fraudulent papers should have been arrested immediately.

“If this does happen next time, I will personally issue orders of arrests for both the MMC for public safety, Michael Sun, and the JMPD chief of police, David Tembe.

“How can this owner have the nerve to come to the offices and present false papers knowing the vehicle has been standing for 10 days?

“He should have been handcuffed and locked up. If the JMPD does not have a budget for handcuffs, I will personally pay for them,” he said.

Tembe reacted to Monday’s taxi strike, saying that taxis were not being targeted specifically.

“More than half the vehicles in the pound are not taxis. We impound many private vehicles. There are only 70 taxis which have been impounded. The rest are bakkies, cars and these include 12 trucks,” he said.

About 90 unclaimed vehicles were crushed earlier this month, he said.

“We keep them for 180 days and then we dispose of them,” he added.

Sun said the taxi industry played a valuable role in transporting passengers and he invited owners and operators to meet with the city to discuss a way forward.

“A one-day strike will not solve the problem. We cannot and will not stop our campaign as we cannot tolerate unroadworthy vehicles on our roads,” he said.

The JMPD, he added, only targeted taxis in response to community complaints about taxis going up the wrong side of the road facing oncoming traffic and ignoring traffic lights and other traffic signals.

Mashaba said the campaign would be intensified.

“One in three people in the city is unemployed and lawlessness is contributing to this. We cannot have an economy based on criminality. We have to bring the rule of law back to this city if we want it to flourish,” he said, adding that residents should be ashamed of allowing taxis in the condition some were found to transport them.

The Star