Friday , June 14 2024

Cape Town Taxi Strike Leaves Commuters Stranded, Two Dead

Authorities in Cape Town, South Africa, voiced worry on Monday after a violent taxi strike left at least two people dead, thousands of commuters stranded, and highways closed.

An individual was “shot dead and three others injured after a motorist was pelted with stones” on the route leading to the city’s airport, according to police on Monday.

Authorities stated that they also discovered the body of a 28-year-old guy who had suffered multiple gunshot wounds in an incident that was “believed to be taxi related” and had been discovered nearby.

Police said they could not rule out if the killing of an officer on Friday night in a township 20 kilometres southeast of Cape Town was linked to the strike, as it came while officers were “performing crime prevention patrols to quell taxi related incidents.”

Four buses from the city-operating Golden Arrows Bus firm were allegedly petrol bombed after passing through roadblocks erected by the taxi drivers on strike.

The cab drivers have been protesting the government seizing their vehicles for traffic offences since they took to the streets last Thursday. Roads have been blocked by cars using garbage, stones, and burning tires.

The South African National Taxi Council, or Santaco, which has pulled all of the taxis belonging to its members, denied being responsible for the violence.

Nceba Enge, the association’s deputy chairperson, blasted the city’s decision to impounded their vehicles and charged Capetonian officials with undermining the city’s taxi industry.

“If your number plate is not properly fixed or cracked, your van will be impounded. If the lights are cracked, your van will be impounded. If the driver is not wearing a safety belt, your van will be impounded. So, we feel that it is unfair,” he said.

Western Cape province premier Alan Winde told VOA the provincial government would not allow lawlessness from those penalized for breaking the law. He called for an end to violence.

“Citizens can’t get about their day. They can’t go to school. They can’t get to work. They can’t get to health facilities and of course that’s paramount for me,” he said.

On Thursday, thousands of stranded commuters gathered at bus and taxi stops all throughout the city. Some chose to walk home into the night, while others slept there as violent outbursts occurred.

According to Bongani Msibi, he and other people waited for transportation Sunday night at a nearby taxi and bus rank.

Both locally and internationally, the strike’s effects have been felt. Police had to accompany foreign teams that won a Netball World Cup event in Cape Town to the airport.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development office of the United Kingdom has issued a travel warning to its citizens.

After failed negotiations at the weekend between Santaco and the government, it announced the action would continue until Wednesday.

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