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Cape Town pushes back against taxi bosses, issuing R1m in fines and impounding 118 vehicles

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In the wake of a week of violent protests in Dunoon, the city of Cape Town issued more than R1m in warrants and impounded 118 taxis.

The pushback from the city came after the protests, which left stakeholders on either side seething.

Over the past week, taxi bosses have lamented the city’s alleged failure to grant the Dunoon Taxi Association the licences it sought. This led to cars being stoned, roads being blocked and infrastructure torched, to the extent that five schools were prevented from reopening and business was severely affected.

In retaliation, a joint operation between traffic services, metro police, SAPS, other law enforcement and the SANDF issued 432 warrants valued at R1,043,200, recorded 22 warrant arrests and issued 1,583 fines for various transgressions.

Soldiers near a vandalised bus station in Dunoon.
Soldiers near a vandalised bus station in Dunoon. Image: Aron Hyman

Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said: “A lot has been said in recent days, particularly claims that the city is unfair towards taxi operators in that area. We will reiterate … that law enforcement happens across the metropole, whether in the public transport sector or (regarding) other road users.

“To play the victim card is really disingenuous. Just the outstanding warrants serve as an indication of the lawlessness and disregard for the law,” he said.

The violence was unlikely to flare up again, said Smith, in spite of ward councillor Lubabalo Makeleni’s saying earlier on Wednesday that action was “temporarily suspended”, after taxi bosses apologised to the community in the area.

“They resorted to violence. The consequence is that we launch this widespread operation to impound illegal, rogue vehicles.

“We are unlikely to see a repetition of the behaviour … because the consequences are there for everyone to see,” said Smith.

He said the hidden cost of issuing more licences was the risk of “turning up the dial” on malicious competition between associations.

“Issuing the licences comes at a deferred cost, where you amplify competition between associations, who then resort to underhanded tactics to get the majority of a finite resource, in this case passengers.

“That is when you see taxi bosses pulling passengers from [another] taxi into their own,” Smith said.

Makeleni said calm had been restored in the area and schools and businesses had started to reopen.

(SOURCE: TIMES LIVE)


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