Police and City Law Enforcement officials arrested a whopping 53 suspects in the Nyanga precinct who took advantage of chaotic conditions across the Cape on Monday.
Police say the alleged thieves were caught looting businesses in Philippi and were found in possession of stolen meat, including smileys (sheep heads), all packed up and ready to go.
The meat mob was then made to lie flat on the ground of the shopping complex’s parking lot.
Police spokesperson, Warrant Officer Henrietta van Niekerk, says the suspects, 53 men and women, aged between 18 and 25, are expected to appear in the Athlone Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.
“Community members made use of the chaotic circumstances that were brought on by the strike to loot [a] local business in the Browns Farm area. The offences include business robbery, malicious damage to property, public violence and possession of stolen property,” says Van Niekerk.
The violent taxi strike, which lasted eight hours, brought the City to a standstill.
Two female commuters, one pregnant, were injured when a MyCiTi bus was stoned in Khayelitsha.
Other buses, private vehicles, police and traffic vehicles were also stoned, and a MyCiTi and Golden Arrow bus torched.
Mayoral Committee Member for Transport and Urban Development, Councillor Brett Herron, said on Tuesday it will take time to calculate the damage caused by the strike, believed to run into millions of rands.
“The costs are yet to be calculated as the damages are still being assessed,” Herron said.
Taxi associations were unhappy over impoundments, the elective processes for their provincial structure, and the influence wielded by the SA National Taxi Council (Santaco).
Amien Carlsen, from the Wynberg Taxi Association and spokesperson for the 148 striking taxi associations, condemned the violence and blamed it on opportunistic criminals.
“The taxi industry does not condone what happened and the law must take its course on those looters and arsonists. Those people were not a part of the taxi industry, but rather elements that were capitalising on the strike.”
The strike was called off at 1pm on Monday, following a meeting with Public Works and Transport MEC Donald Grant, who said all parties agreed to mediation facilitated by his department.