Four people were arrested for public violence during a taxi protest in Durban over route permits on Thursday.
Metro Police spokesperson, Superintendent Parboo Sewpersad, said the taxi drivers did not want Metro Police to enforce route permits because they claim there is a delay in the system in terms of getting them. However, Sewpersad said there was no delay.
“They must come with all required documentation at Metro Police, get issued with a letter and obtain their permit,” he said.
All taxis that are transporting passengers are required to have a permit issued by the Department of Transport under the Provincial Regulatory Entity.
Sfiso Shangase, KwaZulu-Natal South African National Taxi Association provincial spokesperson, explained that the reason behind the protest was that a lot of the driver’s licences had expired. “One of the requirements to renew the permit is getting clearance from the South African Revenue Service but unfortunately a lot of our colleagues owe SARS because they have never filed their tax returns.
“Some are said to be owing R400 000 and it would take a long time to pay off money like that,” he said.
“Unfortunately, a few people with problems have stopped everyone else from working. A problem between taxi drivers and police should not affect commuters.”
Shangase said they are planning on meeting with department heads to work towards an amicable solution for both parties. “There are people whose permits expired during lockdown and they have receipts [for renewals].
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“Those we can help, but those who don’t have permits or introduced new cars on the road without permits, we are not getting involved [with]. We cannot let the country turn into a banana republic with no laws,” said Shangase.
Hundreds of commuters in Durban were left stranded and couldn’t get to work after intra-city taxis stopped working for most of the day.
The protest started at around 5 am with taxi drivers forming blockades on three of Durban’s busiest roads — Warwick Avenue, West Street and Umgeni Road. By 11.30 am police had started clearing the debris off the streets and opening up the routes.