Cape Town - As taxis embark on a two-day strike across the Western Cape, pandemonium has broken out in Cape Town.
On Monday morning, a Golden Arrow bus and a MyCiti bus were torched in Khayelitsha, allegedly by members embarking on the taxi strike.
The spokesperson for the City of Cape Town’s Traffic Services, Kevin Jacobs, said its officers were attending to civil unrest in the Khayelitsha area.
“The routes affected include Pama, Mongezi, Steve Biko and Japhta K Masemola roads.
“Motorists are advised to proceed with caution,” Jacobs said.
Last week, the South African National Taxi Council in the Western Cape said its members would go on strike over the provincial government’s by-laws that affected the taxis industry. Santaco deemed the by-laws unfair.
It said the strike would take place on Monday and Tuesday and would be peaceful.
Golden Arrow’s spokesperson Bronwen Dyke-Beyer said the bus company was trying its best to operate at full service.
“Golden Arrow is trying to operate as full a service as possible, unfortunately, the situation is unpredictable and volatile, so we don’t know what can happen from one minute to the next.
“We ask our passengers to please bear with us as we try our best to operate as full a service as possible.
“Any route or fare query should be directed at the transport information centre on 0800 65 64 63.
“We can also confirm one of our buses was, unfortunately, set alight this morning in Khayelitsha, just before 6am. Fortunately, no injuries were reported,” Dyke-Beyer told IOL.
City of Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for safety and security Alderman JP Smith said its its law enforcement and Metro Police departments had been working with the police since 5am.
“There has been fairly limited impact citywide, other than in Khayelitsha where Pama Road, Mongezi Road, Steve Biko Road and Japhta K Masemola Road have been affected; with further limited protest action this morning on Baden Powell Drive, which was quickly cleared.
“Cowardly attacks were launched on some public transport vehicles in Khayelitsha earlier this morning, when a Golden Arrow bus and a MyCiti bus were burnt.
“It has become the norm for certain role players within the public transport sector to attempt to destroy the competition and burn out competing public transport vehicles,” Smith said.
He said the City of Cape Town’s Leap officers had been deployed on Golden Arrow and MyCiti buses to ensure the drivers and commuters’ safety.
“A Golden Arrow bus was hijacked, but our undercover law enforcement officers were able to intercept the bus and arrest the hijacker.
“In line with the precedent set in Nyanga, where the City and SAPS confirmed that they would not tolerate taxi violence and the destruction of public infrastructure and other public transport vehicles, the City will intensify its operations in Khayelitsha over the next days, which may well lead to the impounding of a significant number of taxis,” Smith added.