No Unrest, But Taxi Violence Just As Deadly

Cape Town didn’t suffer the week-long deadly unrest like other parts of the country, but the Mother City was equally dangerous for taxi drivers and commuters.

Last week at least 23 people were shot dead over a route dispute in Cape Town.

More than 200 people died in the unrest and looting in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

Since the start of the year, taxi violence is responsible for as many as 80 deaths and 50 injuries in Cape Town.

The South African Federations of Trade Unions (SAFTU) on Tuesday said it was “alarmed at the continuing taxi violence”.

SAFTU said the violence poses a threat to the safety of ordinary working-class people who rely on taxis as a daily mode of transport.

The federation appealed to the two taxi associations in conflict – the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata) and the Congress of Democratic Taxi Association (Codeta) – to find a peaceful solution over the contested route, B97.

SAFTU General Secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, and United Democratic Movement leader, General Bantu Holomisa, have offered to mediate between Cata and Codeta.

At the weekend Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, Western Cape Transport MEC Daylin Mitchell, and the leadership of South African National Taxi Council met to try and resolve the ongoing conflict.

“On Monday morning, reports and videos taken by commuters showed that violent shooting continued regardless,” said SAFTU.

“However, shooting no longer revolved around taxis and taxi ranks, but that buses and bus drivers were being shot at.”

SAFTU said a five-month-old infant was injured in the shootout. It seemed that attackers opened fire indiscriminately at the occupants of the taxi in Mew Way, and not just the driver.

“This poses further risk and threat to the lives of the commuters, all of whom are working-class people who rely on public transport for work, to get to shopping centres, and for their children to get to school,” said SAFTU.

Thousands of people were stranded. They could not travel to the City or leave the CBD for hours owing to the transport disruption caused by the taxi violence.

The situation was made worse when Golden Arrow buses suspended all services after buses were shot at.

Three suspects have been arrested for allegedly firing shots at buses.