Pretoria - Taxi owners in Ga-Rankuwa and other areas in Tshwane north are taking no chances with the safety of their commuters and initiated their own campaign to keep commuters safe following an increase in robberies of their taxis.
Last month alone, six Ga-Rankuwa taxi drivers and commuters were robbed at gunpoint by thieves pretending to be fellow commuters.
The modus operandi, is the thieves who usually work in pairs ask to get out of the taxi while on the road, and as one points a firearm at the driver the other accomplice then searches and robs the commuters.
Taxi Owner Jafta Selebi, said the criminals took the taxi drivers fare money, whilst the other partner went on robbing commuters of cellphones, money and other personal belongings.
“By the time the driver contacts one of the members of the association, the criminals are long gone. We had to start taking a stand as they are jeopardising our commuters' safety.”
Selebi said however it wasn’t only the Ga-Rankuwa taxis that were being targeted, as he said criminals had also attacked taxis from Hammanskraal, Mabopane and Soshanguve.
“In other areas there have been as many as eight attacks, so they are also doing these searches.
"So we decided to stop taxis from yesterday morning, plus we explain to the commuters that we need their co-operation for everyone to get home safely.”
The taxi owners and drivers dressed in reflector jackets gather along the road, and once the taxi stops they ask male commuters to get out of the taxi for a quick body search, along with their bags.
Even though body searches are not conducted on the women the owners use a scanner to search their bags.
Matome Mmatau another taxi owner said they are braced for the freezing weather until 11pm, when the last of their taxis finishes up.