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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Truck set alight as Cape Town taxi permit protests continue

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Cape Town – A truck was set alight on the corner of Potsdam Road and Stable Way, near Killarney International Raceway in Cape Town, as protests over taxi permits flared up again on Monday, the City’s safety team said.

City of Cape Town traffic spokesperson Maxine Jordaan said that Potsdam Road, the main road to the suburb of Dunoon, was closed in both directions between Malibongwe Road and Killarney Avenue.

“Motorists are asked to use alternative routes,” she said.

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The situation has been tense since last Wednesday, with the roads opening and closing sporadically.

Earlier, hundreds of people streamed to work on foot from Dunoon, either down Potsdam Road, which becomes Koeberg Road, or turning off onto Blaauwberg Road, due to an apparent unresolved issue that taxi drivers have with City officials.

Frank Qotyiwe of the Dunoon Taxi Association (DTA) said taxi services between Dunoon and Joe Slovo further south were suspended last week, but that now a small group of drivers were protesting that decision because they wanted to drive again.

Property developments to the north of Milnerton, including housing projects and the Table Bay Mall, have created a great demand for transport in the area.

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However, Qotyiwe said the DTA had not been able to secure any of the 51 operator licences that they understood were available.

The introduction of the MyCiTi bus route has also changed commuting patterns in the area.

Some taxi companies became shareholders in the MyCiTi vehicle operating project, and the plan was to empower taxi operators and staff, as well as reduce congestion.

The community needs the taxi service’

Taxi operators, however, feel that commuters should have the freedom to choose how they travel.

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“The community needs the [taxi] service, and the supply and demand is being ignored. The need is out there,” Qotyiwe said.

Other buses, such as the Golden Arrow Bus Service also work that route, but do not have the sheltered drop-off and pick-up points in the area that MyCiTi has.

The City is also planning on building a multimillion-rand taxi rank in the area.

Qotyiwe said the taxi marshalls themselves had been conducting broad surveys to prove the taxi operators’ point.

They were open to talks with the City, but a letter sent to the City’s safety officials on either Friday or Saturday had not yet been acknowledged.

Police spokesperson Siyabulela Malo said a truck transporting eggs was set alight and the eggs were looted.

“The truck driver was not injured and there are no arrests that have been made as yet.

“Public Order Police monitored the situation and they will remain in the area to deal with any situation which may rise, and to maintain law and order,” said Malo.

Last week, an official from the City’s Law Enforcement Unit was surrounded by people who arrived in six taxis at a garage.

The official’s vehicle came under attack, but he was not injured. His colleague was also spared from being attack inside the shop when the doors were locked.

There were also reports on Monday of cars being stoned along the Omuramba Road in the Joe Slovo area.


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