Taxi strike disrupts Joe Slovo and Dunoon

Violent protest erupt in Dunoon following Santaco’s taxi strike. PICTURE: SUPPLIED

Various violent protesting incidents have been reported in the Dunoon and Joe Slovo communities’s since Friday August 4, with the areas remaining hot spots, said police on Tuesday August 8.

The strike comes after the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) in the Western Cape announced a seven-day taxi stay-away, effective from last Thursday August 3, because of their 6 000 taxis being impounded in the past six months, reportedly under the new by-laws.

Table View police arrested three suspects on Monday August 7, and they are being kept behind bars on malicious damage to property charges, said the station’s spokeswoman, Captain Adriana Chandler.

She said Potsdam Road and Malibongwe Drive have been marked as hot spots, and that the “situation is being monitored closely.”

Milnerton police say they have not made any arrests but have requested assistance from more SAPS members to be placed at various locations in their precinct, including Dunoon and Joe Slovo’s main intersections.

Milnerton police spokesperson Captain Nopaya Madyibi said police members are patrolling all over the Milnerton area to keep the situation under control.

Santaco’s spokesperson, Nceba Enge, told Tabletalk on Tuesday that the City of Cape Town and the provincial government are not willing to meet their demands by releasing their impounded taxis without having to pay fines and creating a designated taxi lane such as the one MyCiTi bus lanes use.

They are also demanding a moratorium on the conditions applied to operating licences.

He could not confirm whether the strike will end on Wednesday August 9, as originally planned.

Mr Enge said Santaco does not agree with the violent protests, looting, and disruptions in communities across the city.

“As the taxi industry, we distance ourselves in these actions and unequivocally want to point out that the protests are not being done in our name or by our members,” he said.

He added that talks between all spheres of government, and Santaco’s members are ongoing.

Tabletalk was sent video footage of burning tires and large crowds gathering on the corners of Malibongwe Drive and Potsdam Road, just after 6am on Tuesday morning.

A resident, who did not want to be named fearing intimidation, said she was threatened by the crowds on Tuesday August 8, and was forced to go back home but said she cannot miss another day of work because she needs the money.

However, she said she was warned that she might “die” if she continued to walk any further.

“I am a domestic worker in Table View, and I get paid per hour. In order for me to put food on the table I have to get to work,” said the 37-year-old woman.

On Monday, teargas was used to disperse the crowds that gathered at the Dunoon taxi rank, and a resident, Belinda Mentyisi, said she was left with burning eyes, and a scratching throat after being caught in the crossfire.

“They were burning tyres here and throwing rocks at cars that came into the area. We are not safe here,” she said.

Inkwenkwezi High School in Dunoon had to close their gates on Monday, August 7, and sent their staff and pupils home because they were threatened by protesters who gathered outside the school.

Principal Tyobile Beauty said while most pupils live in the area, staff made use of public transport while others feared that their cars might be torched.

“Grade 12 pupils are writing trial exams and teachers were finishing up the syllabus. Without prior planning, for all teaching to come to a standstill is very sad. This strike is affecting learning,” she said.

Dunoon Taxi Association (DTA) sent a statement, saying that they will not respond to the media until the strike has ended.

However, the association said they do not condone the protests that’s happening in the area.

Ward 104 councillor , Meisie Makuwa, on Tuesday morning said tyres continue to burn along Postdam road, and said she was engaging with community members to bring an end to the violent protests.

“This strike is affecting the community, and it was only intended for taxi owners and organisations to stay home but schools and businesses in the community are being closed because of it,” she said.

Ms Makuwa said the protests started on Friday August 4, and she too was threatened by protesters who wanted to smash her car.

On Friday, Omarumba Road and parts of Joe Slovo saw violent protests that flared up as a result of the taxi strike.

Ward 4 councillor, Anthony Benadie, described the protests as “barbaric behaviour” and said children were involved in the stoning of cars and burning of tyres.

He said on Friday August 4, a council truck was set alight on the premises of the Joe Slovo community hall, along Freedom Way in Phoenix.

“I condemn in the strongest terms the unacceptable behaviour associated with the ongoing taxi strike.This behaviour has no place in our community. While the right to protest is a constitutional right, such a right cannot include violence, hurt to others and damage to property. I appeal to the taxi associations to heed the call by the mayor to end the strike now,” he added.

City Fire and Rescue Service spokesman, Jermaine Carelse, said fire crews from Milnerton and Brooklyn had to be escorted by police and they arrived at the community hall just after 9am on Friday August 4.

He said an Isuzu truck was set alight by protesters and the fire was extinguished just before 10am.

Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis welcomed the Western Cape High Court’s decision to grant an urgent interdict to the City against Santaco’s taxi strike violence, in a City statement released late on Monday evening.

According to the statement, the order states that no person, vehicle, taxi or driver may unreasonably obstruct, interfere or block any vehicle on any public road, throughout the City metropole, in such manner as to harm passengers, or delay or impede the flow of traffic. depot.

“We welcome the high court granting us an interdict against Santaco’s taxi strike violence, including attempts to blockade routes and threaten other transport modes and commuters.

“The City will uphold the rule of law without fear or favour as was demonstrated earlier today (Monday) with the clearing and impounding of vehicles blockading major routes. This interdict further empowers our work with SAPS to keep our roads open, protect buses and commuters, and arrest the perpetrators of disorder,” said Mr Hill Lewis.

Protesters gather at the Dunoon Taxi rank on Monday August 7. PICTURE: SUPPLIED
Fire crews from Milnerton and Brooklyn were called to the scene of a burning truck at the Joe Slovo community hall on Friday August 4. PICTURE: SUPPLIED