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City of Cape Town to take civil action against taxi associations should damage to infrastructure, private property be found

Published Mar 24, 2022

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Cape Town - The City of Cape Town has condemned the violence by members within the taxi industry during its protest on Thursday morning against the treatment from the provincial government.

The protest was led by members of two of the Cape’s biggest taxi associations, the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata) and the Congress of Democratic Taxi Association (Codeta).

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According to mayoral committee member for safety and security, Alderman JP Smith, the city was angered that the violence and attempts of criminal elements within the taxi associations forced its strike on all other public transport operators.

Three Golden Arrrow buses were torched.

“We have tried our very best since early this morning to prevent the violence and to protect commuters and private vehicles, but it is impossible to safeguard every kilometre of road and to escort every private vehicle in the affected areas this morning.

“We have deployed Metro Police, Law Enforcement and Traffic Services to act in support of SAPS as the primary agency responsible for public order policing,” Smith said.

He said that were it not for the deployment of services of enforcement agencies, the situation could have likely worsened.

He said permission for the march had been withdrawn, however, the police had permitted the march to proceed.

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“The City will be recording the proceedings and any damage to infrastructure or private property will result in civil legal action against the march organisers as has been the case in similar incidents in the past.

“While the march was meant to highlight the taxi associations’ grievances, the intimidation and destruction that have accompanied their actions this morning is counter-productive and completely unnecessary,” Smith said.

Of the grievances in the memorandum handed over at the provincial legislature, the associations included harassment from enforcement staff.

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Smith stated the City was inundated by daily complaints about the behaviour of taxi drivers on roads across the metropole, and staff were duty-bound to enforce the law.

“We have said it in the past, but it bears repeating – we cannot exempt any group from the provisions of the National Road Traffic Act and the City’s by-laws.

“Instead of heaping misery on law abiding citizens, these associations should do some introspection on their actions and behaviour, and how they can bring about a positive change.

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“Stoning and petrol-bombing other transport and service vehicles is not the answer,” Smith said.

An estimation of damages are still under way and once complete a full report will be communicated.

The Western Cape public relations officer for the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco), Gershon Meyer said the associations will be contacted for a meeting after its ‘peaceful protest’ went south.

“As Santaco we are very disappointed with the turn of the events this morning of the supposed peaceful march of our two regions, Cata and Codeta.

“This type of behaviour is unexceptionable. Santaco denounces any kind of violence .

“We will call in Cata and Codeta to discuss this behaviour of their members,” Meyer said.

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