What was once a point of departure to different areas became a place of prayer and pleas as the residents of Khayelitsha and Nyanga spoke out against the ongoing taxi war.
On Sunday July 25, a special service was held to pray for peace and stability in the taxi industry and to bring an end to the violent clashes which have resulted in a number of deaths.
Usually a hive of activity, with commuters travelling to different parts of the Cape metro, Nyanga Terminus and Kuwait Taxi Rank in Site C was instead abuzz with holy songs and prayers, with different church leaders seeking divine intervention ahead of the reopening of schools after an extended winter break.
The church leaders joined hands with members of the community to call on God to protect commuters and get into the heads of those who are fighting, taxi owners and drivers to make peace.
At the Kuwait taxi rank, Bishop Derick Mtsolo made a plea to the owners to consider commuters who would lose their jobs if there was no public transport to get them to work.
“As Khayelitsha residents and leaders, we are here to ask Codeta to stop the war with its rival Cata.”
The current taxi war has resulted from a disagreement between the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (CATA) and the Congress for Democratic Taxi Associations (CODETA) over routes between Bellville and Paarl.
“We are here to ask our trusted God to intervene. We want taxi owners to put down their weapons. We pray and beg the taxi owners to come to their senses.
“As we are here, the same is happening in Nyanga,” he said.
At Nyanga terminus, by noon, there had been fewer than 100 people, but this later swelled to about 200 people who had come from different townships to say “enough is enough”.
Leader of the group Reverend Zama Mfihlo said their prayers extended to bringing about an end to gender-based violence, as well as the taxi war in the province.
“We pray for orphans, homes that have lost their bread winners through the taxi war, gender-based violence because we found out that men out there are angry, and we also pray for the violence throughout the country. But the most important thing now is the current situation in the province,” he said.
Meanwhile, young people from Crossroads gathered for another prayer service at the New Eisleben Road traffic lights near Nyanga, making their way to the traffic lights at the terminus.
About 50 young people, all dressed in black, commuters who had to walk long distances to look for transport, became victims of violent crimes such as robbery and attacks.
A young woman who spoke on behalf of the group and who would identify herself only as Siya, said many young women and girls, in particular, were being targeted.
“This is our part as young people who are gatvol with this situation we are all in. We pray and we want to see a significant decrease in taxi violence,” she said.
The two taxi associations were not available for comment by the time this story was published.