An elderly driver arrived at the Milnerton police station “dripping petrol” fleeing angry taxi operators on Tuesday as the protest against a City of Cape Town clampdown reached new levels of anger.
The traffic services clampdown on unlicensed minibus taxis last Thursday sparked the anger of taxi bosses operating in the greater Milnerton, Table View area and the West Coast. In retaliation for minibus taxis being impounded and fined, bus stations were vandalised, cars stoned and tyres burnt on the road.
A truck was set alight on Friday at the corner of Potsdam Road and Stable Way in Milnerton and a Mercedes-Benz was set ablaze on the N7 at 6am on Tuesday, confirmed the Milnerton SAPS spokesperson‚ Captain Nopaya Madyibi.
The driver of the Mercedes-Benz, Madyibi said, was an elderly “white man” who arrived at the station dripping petrol. She said the driver had been doused with petrol and had had to escape before a lit match was dropped on him.
She said he was too traumatised to open a case immediately but she expected him to return to do so.
Madyibi said five people were arrested on Friday for public violence and another two were arrested on Tuesday.
At the height of the protest on Tuesday, South African National Defence Force (SANDF) troops, who have been busy on the Cape Flats, came to Dunoon for a targeted operation, Madyibi confirmed.
“They were patrolling the streets in Dunoon and assisted the City’s law enforcement and SAPS members in the area,” she said.
Dunoon taxi bosses are demanding that the City stop issuing traffic fines, stop impounding their minibuses and discuss a solution with them while allowing them to operate, according to Frank Qotyiwe, the Dunoon Taxi Association (DTA) general secretary.
Mayco Member for Transport Felicity Purchase said the City was still exploring whether the formation of an operating company for Dunoon is viable and whether the demand for taxi services can be met through the operating company. She said if the City did support new operating licences in the Dunoon area, these licences could be issued to the company rather than to individual minibus-taxi operators as is currently the case.
She said the City was committed to engaging the taxi associations but “we are requesting the minibus-taxi operators to also take note of the moratorium on the issuing of new operating licences on routes where the MyCiTi service operates”.
Qotyiwe said the City had promised to issue the Dunoon Taxi Association with 51 minibus taxi operating permits but had not done so. Meanwhile the association, he said, had grown to 80 members owning 214 minibus taxis.
Joe Slovo Park’s Sinenjongo High School principal, Khuselwa Nopote said out of 1,300 learners at the school only 120 made it to school at the start of the fourth term on Tuesday because of the protests, which had also led to the cancellation of spring classes for the 2019 matrics at the weekend.