Taxi chaos erupted in the Cape Town CBD yesterday afternoon, following law enforcement operations which saw several taxis being impounded.
Disgruntled taxi drivers assembled at the Station Deck taxi rank and allegedly assaulted one of the Traffic Officers. The operators took to blockading the exit route in the rank, causing widespread congestion.
The City alleges a group of opportunistic drivers, intent on causing chaos, attempted to incite the crowds and numerous drivers left their vehicles in the road, causing a gridlock and adding to the frustration.
The SAPS deployed Public Order Policing, and along with Metro police, deployed stun grenades to bring order to a tense situation, after officers allegedly came under attack.
Videos circulating showed law enforcement officials pulling taxi drivers from their vehicles with one officer breaking the window of a taxi. Several taxi operators were taken into custody.
— YT: https://yout ATULE JOKA (@atuleTheJoka) August 1, 2023
— @NEWSBUZZ23💤🗞️ (@NEWSBUZZ23) August 1, 2023
The brutality that police & traffic officials of @CityofCT meted on our drivers and vehicles yesterday is a continuation of what appears to be their mission to get rid of the operation of taxis in CT. It began with the introduction of unreasonable bylaws….(1/3)
— SANTACO (@SA_Taxis) August 2, 2023
Meanwhile, SANTACO in the Western Cape has indicated they may implement a possible stay-away action later this week or early next week, in protest to the impoundment of vehicles.
The City has warned SANTACO ahead of this potential strike to refrain from violence, attacks on other public transport operators, intimidation, and traffic disruptions.
SANTACO withdrew from engagements with the City and the Western Cape Government (WCG) last week.
The Task Team – comprising representatives from the Western Cape Government and City of Cape Town, together with industry leadership – were due to meet on Monday for its fifth engagement.
The Mayoral Committee Member for Urban Mobility Rob Quintas has urged SANTACO and taxi drivers to return to the negotiating table.
The illegal blockade in the CBD during the peak hour period this afternoon is an indication that should the strike go ahead, it may have an impact on the MyCiTi N2 Express routes between the Civic Centre MyCiTi station and Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha in particular, and to a lesser degree on other routes operating across Cape Town.
As a precautionary measure, MyCiTi commuters and those relying on the minibus-taxi industry for commuting have been advised to anticipate delays in coming days, and to plan accordingly.