Taxi strike leaves trail of destruction

A vehicle inside the premises of Kuyasa library has been set alight during the ongoing taxi strike.

Violence and chaos erupted in a number of townships across the city after a taxi strike was declared last Thursday.

People have been fearing for their safety as vehicles were stoned, buses and trucks set alight and traffic blockaded on major thoroughfares into and out of the city.

The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) launched the strike last week because the City has impounded 6 000 taxis since the start of the year, according to Santaco provincial chairperson, Mandla Hermanus.

In a video trending on social media, a group of men are seen stopping a vehicle in Borcherd’s Quarry Road near the airport, and shooting its driver at close range. He is reported to have died on the scene.

A second person was shot dead when a motorist whose car was being pelted with stones on the Airport Approach Road, responded by opening fire on his attackers, leaving one dead and three people injured.

Police spokesperson, Brigadier Novela Potelwa, confirmed both these separate incidents.

She said they found the body of a 28-year-old man with multiple gun shots in Borcherds Quarry Road. “Police are investigating two cases of murder and attempted murder at the moment,” she said.

In a media statement released by the City of Cape Town, they reported that during protest action in Philippi, which had drawn between 150 and 300 protesters, a vehicle had been set alight, while four vehicles had been torched at Mew Way and Japhta K Masemola Road and several gun shots fired at a Metro police Nyala on the N2 ramp to Borcherds Quarry.

Law enforcement staff had also come under fire at Nyanga terminus and private vehicles have been reported to have been set alight in Nyanga, Langa and Site C in the past few days.

A shopping centre in Site C was torched on Sunday evening while a taxi transporting staff was set alight and several guns shots fired not far from the Kuwait taxi rank.

About 18km from Site C, vehicles belonging to the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) parked inside the Kuyasa library’s premises were set alight about 20 minutes after a shopping centre in Site C was set alight leaving one vehicle burnt to ashes.

Sassa had been using the library as an alternative office space while their building at Khayelitsha mall is under construction.

On Monday morning staff at a clinic at Crossroads were instructed by the taxi operators to close, prompting the provincial Department of Health to close other health-care facilities for safety reasons.

Golden Arrow’s buses are not operating within the areas of Khayelitsha and can only be found at Mew Way off-ramps where there is a heavily armed presence of law enforcement personnel.

According to Golden Arrow Bus Services spokesperson, Bronwen Dyke-Beyer, four buses had been torched, stoned in Govan Mbeki Road, and another one had been set alight at a taxi blockade in Borcherds Quarry Road in the early hours of Monday, but no injuries had been reported. Between Thursday and Friday last week, Ms Dyke-Beyer said six buses were torched stoned and damaged.

A case of looting at Gugulethu mall was reported and one shop at Khayelitsha mall was looted.

Station commander at Gugulethu police station, Brigadier Nokuzola Pete, confirmed that looting occurred at Gugulethu mall and four people were arrested for possession of stolen goods.

Lingelethu police station spokesperson, Sergeant Xoliswa Nyalambisa, confirmed that looting occurred at Khayelitsha mall but no one was arrested and also said there was looting at a nearby Engen petrol station.

A group of women who were walking alongside Lansdowne Road in Philippi were thrown off the bridge.

Brigadier Pete said one woman had to be transported by a police vehicle to hospital after she sustained serious injuries.

In a media statement, Santaco said it was with “great sorrow and regret they take notice of the violent and destruction of property and the loss of life over the last few days”.

They condemned all the violent acts.