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By Enkosi Selane

Digital Journalist

WATCH: As taxi protests take place in KZN, Cele says police deal with 30 protests a day in SA

Cele said the new vehicles will help with public order policing.

As the streets of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) came to a standstill on Friday due to taxi protests, Minister of Police Bheki Cele revealed that officers deal with around 30 protests in South Africa “every morning”.

Speaking at the opening of the NatJoints Coordination Centre (NCC) in Pretoria ahead of the elections, Cele said a recent donation of vehicles to police and the opening of the centre will help with public order of policing.

Police get new cars to fight crime

Cele said the new cars will help police respond to the protests.

The police were able to buy 87 vehicles using funds from the Criminal Assets Recovery Account (Cara), while a second batch of police cars came from the police budget.

“The first batch that we gave comes from Cara. Cara is a special fund which is accumulated from the crime proceeds and brought back to the government to fight criminality,” said Cele.

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During the handover, Cele instructed the national commissioner of police to tell the Public Order Police (POP) team that was receiving some of the vehicles, that they should not laze around in their offices instead of doing their job.

“Tell them that there is not a single member of the POP that stays in their office, they all stand on the ground as they were yesterday in Port Shepstone [during the taxi strike],” said Cele.

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While handing over the new vehicles, Cele stated that the NatJoint centre will serve as as a central point of contact for coordination of information.

“It is here where the reporting of incidents and swift, prompt and coordinated response to any and every eventuality within the mandate on NatJoints will unfold,” he added.

Cele also said he hoped the reasons for protests will be reduced so the police can use the new vehicles to fight crime.

Watch: NatJoints Coordination Centre (NCC) opening proceedings

Taxi strike

The Port Shepstone protest action began on Thursday morning on the N2 in Marburg. Citizens were advised to avoid the area specifically the Port Shepstone Central Business District (CBD) with multiple intersections being blocked while some opened up.

The protest was allegedly prompted by the impounding of vehicles earlier this week. It is alleged that the cost to retrieve one’s vehicle from the pound is R10 000.

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School kids were left stranded, with no way to get home, due to the roadblocks on the N2.

According to News24, the chairperson of the Port Shepstone Community Police Forum, Aadil Moola, said he hoped for a resolution following ongoing negotiations with the taxi drivers.

Durban taxi strike

As the protest in Port Shepstone persists, taxi drivers in Durban embarked on their own strike, bringing various parts of the city to a halt after blocking the N3 near the Pavilion Mall using a truck and taxis.

The protest escalated from blocking the Umgeni Road near Durban Station using taxis and burning tyres.

News24 reported that the taxi operators said they were protesting due to prolonged permit applications by the KZN Department of Transport.

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This process has led to taxi operators driving their vehicles without permits, then seeing them being impounded as a result.

According to Sifiso Shangase, spokesperson for the South African National Taxi Council in KZN, the organisation will be engaging with taxi operators at the grassroots level to investigate the reasons behind the strike and work towards finding mutually beneficial solutions.

Watch: Durban strike N3 Road closed due to protest

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