TAXI MARCH TURNED UGLY, FIVE ARRESTED
By: Lungani Mnguni
What was intended to be a peaceful march turned sour as it led to five arrests.
Over 1500 Durban taxi drivers took to the streets on last week Tuesday against Metro Police management accusing the officials for foul use of authority.
Taxi associations from all over Durban are against the Metro Police as they feel under fire by police’s drastic measures of warrant and ticket issuing during peak hours.
As the march gained momentum, taxi drivers along Dr Pixley kaSeme Street could not hold back their anger and frustrations. The march got out of hand when municipal property was vandalised.
South African Police Services (SAPS) were out in full force to curb what was now an intense situation between taxi drivers and civilians. Attempts to attack pedestrians were stopped.
“Our aim was not for the march to turn into disrepute, what we had agreed on as the taxi alliance is the delivering and signing of the memorandum. Anything outside of that we will not be held responsible. Offenders should face the consequences of behaving in a non-civil manner,” said Qina Mshayeli spokesperson Vusi Ndlovu.
The memorandum drafted by the South African Taxi Workers Organization (SATWO) contained amongst other things complaint of corrupt officials who use their powers of authority for self-gain.
“Every day we have to pay metro police bribes to avoid the harsh line of tickets and warrants. We are tired now. What they are doing is making money out of us. It is time we named and shamed them. We also have to make ends meet,” complained the taxi drivers as they marched to Durban City Hall continued.
During the march an operating taxi driver was attacked by fellow marching drivers and police had to intervene once again calling order to the drivers. On another incident, a Durban Metro Police vehicle was stoned and two municipal buses were also damaged.
Police Spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker confirmed that there had been five arrests for public violence in the taxi march to City Hall.
As the taxi alliance had anticipated, Cllr Mayor James Nxumalo availed himself and promised that within the seven days mentioned, he will be meeting taxi bosses to address their issues. He also committed to passing the memorandum to KwaZulu-Natal Premier Senzo Mchunu to look into the taxi operating permit issue.