Milnerton residents and a civic organisations fear it’s only a matter of time before rat-running taxis kill someone on quiet residential back roads.
Pienaar Road resident Jeremy Buirski has gathered photographic evidence, which he supplied to Tabletalk, of the taxis allegedly off their legal routes and rat-running in the suburb.
“It seems that they are making use of the south-flowing roads, including Ascot, Graaff and Langerman, past the Milnerton Primary School.
“Several people on our Milnerton Residents WhatsApp group have filled in C3 service requests on the City’s website, but, so far, we have had no feedback and there have not been any roadblocks as well.
“When I personally took some of the photographic evidence to the Milnerton SAPS, they told me to take it to the traffic department instead,” he said.
Leon Heyns, heads up the security portfolio in the Milnerton Central Residents’ Association, and he said the problem was likely to get worse before it got better.
“This issue has been going on for a number of years, but I only realised its severity when I started taking my son, who is doing Grade 1 at Milnerton Primary, to school.
“The taxis drive on the wrong side of the road, speeding and causing a danger to our children. We recently brought this issue up at one of our public meetings, and residents all agree that something has to be done,” he said.
Mr Heyns said he understood the City might be understaffed, under resourced and could not always be everywhere, but it was ultimately up to it and not the residents to police the rat-running taxis.
“If the City needs help, then it should say so because until then, this will keep on happening, and we will keep on logging C3 requests for it to sort this out.”
Mr Buirski said it shouldn’t have to take a child getting knocked over to get more than some “mealy-mouthed platitudes” from the City.
He suggested running roadblocks at all four streets from 7am to 8am for at least three days a week.
Maxine Bezuidenhout, the City’s traffic services spokeswoman, said the Transport Enforcement Unit (TEU) dealt with all traffic-related complaints.
The roadblocks suggested by Mr Buirski were not possible as taxis drove off-route in every city suburb, she said.
“The TEU received a complaint regarding Ascot Road, which we attend to on an ad hoc basis.
“We have received no record of complaints in terms of Erica, Graff, Langerman and Pienaar streets,” she said.
Milnerton Primary School principal Warick Middleton said Zastron Road was a link between Otto du Plessis and Koeberg Road and was a “notorious” short cut.
“We would, of course, appreciate motorists to drive with caution to protect our young pupils who walk to school,” he said.
Dunoon Taxi Association (DTA) spokesman Frank Qotyiwe asked residents and civic organisations to approach them before going to the media.
“We try our best to work with organisations from all the neighbourhoods where we operate, and we would like to do the same here.
“As far as our taxis are concerned, we have the right to re-align our routes as long as it doesn’t clash with anyone else’s route.
“As far as we know, there aren’t any taxi associations who have claim to that route, but we see many private residents from other places also using those roads.
“Does Mr Buirski have a problem with those cars too or is this just aimed at the taxis?” he said.
Mr Qotyiwe said the DTA encouraged communication between them and the civic organisations to find solutions.
If necessary, he said, the association would consider deploying taxi marshals in the area to monitor drive behaviour.
He said the taxis would continue to use those roads as the association had a duty to find the safest and most convenient routes for its passengers.
Siphesihle Dube, spokesman Transport and Public Works MEC Donald Grant, said they had asked the City’s traffic services to investigate the matter.
“Should it be found that there has, in fact, been wrongdoing by the taxis, City traffic services will refer the matter to the Provincial Regulatory Entity to investigate the conduct of these drivers and institute disciplinary action where appropriate, which may include action against the violation of operating licence requirements,” said Mr Dube.