Yesterday’s events in Johannesburg and Tshwane involving taxi drivers produced the sort of tragi-comedy which clearly fits into the “Only in South Africa” category of absurdity.
In Johannesburg, taxi drivers took to the streets to disrupt traffic because they believe they are being hard done by the law enforcement authorities, who have the temerity to impound taxis which are unroadworthy.
In the capital city, though, the would-be anarchists took on the role of the police, doing what the cops were unable or unwilling to do: the taxi drivers broke up a service delivery protest in Mamelodi and cleared the streets of barricades.
However, both situations are no laughing matters.
In Johannesburg, taxi drivers threatened violence because they believe the laws which are aimed at ensuring the health and safety of all people on the road, do not apply to them.
In Pretoria, although they were breaking up an antisocial protest, the taxi drivers were doing it with the use of threats and intimidation – and by brandishing firearms. And they were motivated by pure greed, because closed streets mean no township commuter business for them.
Both sum up the ongoing implosion of law and order happening in front of South Africans every day.