Tue. Nov 19th, 2019

CPT taxi driver protest: 23 taxis towed for blocking CBD routes

The taxi drivers felt they were wrongfully targeted by traffic officers.

cpt taxi driver protest 23 taxis towed for blocking cbd routes 1024x683 - CPT taxi driver protest: 23 taxis towed for blocking CBD routes

This week, Taxi drivers in Cape Town disrupted traffic by blocking major routes. They were protesting against warrants issued in an operation by the City of Cape Town.

Taxi driver protest traffic cleared

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A total of 23 taxi’s were impounded following a large number of taxi’s taking part in a protest where several roads leading out of Cape Town cbd were blockaded on 18 October 2019. Photo: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

The City of Cape Town said traffic was cleared on multiple routes leading out of the central business district (CBD). Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee (MayCo) member for safety and security, JP Smith, said: “All roads have been cleared. Confirmed with traffic.”

Smith shared that at least 23 minibus taxis were towed away
by traffic authorities on Friday afternoon. Taxis blocked major routes like the
N2 highway at the M5.

Bus commuters attacked by taxi drivers

d69cd548 taxi drivers 3 - CPT taxi driver protest: 23 taxis towed for blocking CBD routes
A total of 23 taxi’s were impounded following a large number of taxi’s taking part in a protest where several roads leading out of Cape Town cbd were blockaded on 18 October 2019. Photo: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

The blockage caused heavy traffic delays for those trying to
leave the city. The police were also deployed to the CBD bus terminal where
taxi drivers were reportedly attacking commuters.

They also caused vandalism by smashing a number of Golden Arrow bus windows. Smith confirmed saying:

“The commuters were said to be trying to board Golden Arrow buses.”

JP Smith, Cape Town Mayoral Committee (MayCo) member for safety and security

Why drivers are protesting

1d40fd6e taxi drivers - CPT taxi driver protest: 23 taxis towed for blocking CBD routes
A total of 23 taxi’s were impounded following a large number of taxi’s taking part in a protest where several roads leading out of Cape Town cbd were blockaded on 18 October 2019. Photo: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

The taxi drivers were also protesting against the impounding
of illegal operators. Smith said the drivers were protesting over their “perceived
abuse of power exhibited by traffic officers.”

The MayCo member explained how the drivers felt they were being targeted on the roads, and handed out ridiculous fines.

The beginning of the protests

Earlier in the week, the drivers disrupted the CBD by blocking
the area around the station deck. The protest action has been led by various
taxi associations.

The protests started in the early days of October in the western parts of Cape Town. Taxi drivers from Dunoon, Joe Slovo, and Milnerton disrupted traffic along the N7.

DA condemns taxi driver actions

In a statement, Democratic Alliance (DA) spokesperson, Daylin Mitchell, revealed that the province’s ruling party condemned “the taxi blockade which has closed off sections of Sir Lowry road and Christiaan Barnard Boulevard early this afternoon.”

At the time, Mitchell said:

“It is absolutely unacceptable that taxi operators in the City of Cape Town have chosen to protest traffic law-enforcement by blocking vital arterial routes in the Metro. The City cannot be held ransom by a select few who refuse to abide by the law and the rules of the road which serve to protect the residents of the City.”

Daylin Mitchell, Democratic Alliance (DA) spokesperson

The spokesperson added:

“I call on the leadership of taxi associations, as well as taxi owners and drivers not to resort to traffic disruptions to register grievances, as this anarchy affects innocent people who depend on numerous arterial routes in and out of the City.”

Daylin Mitchell, Democratic Alliance (DA) spokesperson

The DA’s call on the police

Mitchell concluded with a call to the police saying:

“I call on all law enforcement to act swiftly in bringing this blockade to a halt, and apprehending those responsible for it. Nobody is above the law, and no citizen has the right to encroach on the rights of others in such a blatant manner.”

Daylin Mitchell, Democratic Alliance (DA) spokesperson

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