Within hours of the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) announcing its “peaceful” week-long strike, violent attacks and large-scale disruption of transport services were reported in the Mother City.
At least four buses, three trucks and an ambulance have since been petrol bombed and passengers forced off MyCiTi buses. Several law enforcement vehicles were pelted with stones. A Coca-Cola truck came under attack and was looted.
By Friday morning, the N2 was still blocked.
According to reports, the driver of a Golden Arrow bus was shot early this morning when miscreants opened fire on the bus in Khayelitsha.
“This is no longer a peaceful protest and we strongly condemn this action. There is absolutely no need to endanger human life, nor to interfere with other vehicles on the road,” said the city’s mayoral committee member for urban mobility, Councilor Rob Quintas.
The metro is now threatening to impound 25 taxis for every truck, bus, vehicle or facility that is set on fire or damaged.
Meanwhile, the metro plans to obtain an interdict should the violence continue.
“While we respect the right to peaceful protest, there is no place for violence and intimidation in Cape Town,” says Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis.
Santaco pulled out of talks with the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape government last week and on Thursday suddenly decided to suspend its operations in Cape Town based on what they consider to be unfair discriminatory practices towards minibus taxis.
“It is simply not true that the city is targeting minibus taxi operators,” says Quintas. “On the contrary, we find that some minibus taxis are unroadworthy, have a record of dangerous traffic violations, that drivers do not have basic driving licenses and some of the vehicles are linked to criminal investigations.”
The City of Cape Town is nevertheless calling on Santaco to return to the negotiating table “so that we can resolve these issues in a peaceful manner”.
JP Smith, Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for safety, says he and, among others, the MEC for provincial transport have had no less than four meetings with the taxi industry in the past six months in an attempt to prevent strike action and the possible violence that often accompanies such strikes , to ward off.
— Tania (@Tania84928222) August 3, 2023
So many people were left stranded today due to the Santaco taxi strike at the City of Cape Town ???????????? pic.twitter.com/E0vqdm3LGD
— Masana ☀️ (@Chizgo) August 3, 2023
If the #TaxiStrike continues to cause widespread disruption, Cape Town’s bus station witnesses heart-wrenching scenes of commuters desperately trying to make their way home.#CapeTown #santaco #TaxiStrike pic.twitter.com/ZEIJrOstKI
— The Workers Rights (@theworkersright) August 4, 2023