/ 3 August 2023

Chaos, violence on major Cape Town roads as taxis go on strike

Taxi Strike
A metro police vehicle was set alight

Traffic peaked early on major roads connecting Cape Town to surrounding suburbs on Thursday afternoon as dozens of minibus taxis left the inner city after the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) announced a provincial shutdown that is set to last for seven days.  

Shortly after 3pm, slow-moving traffic was recorded on major routes due to taxis leaving the city. Soon after, incidents of public violence were reported which led to road closures on the N2, M5 and Jakes Gerwel Drive, the city’s traffic services spokesperson, Kevin Jacobs, confirmed. 

Footage shared widely on official traffic WhatsApp groups showed incidents of looting taking place between Duinefontein and Jakes Gerwel Drive, while a traffic service vehicle was set alight on the N2. In another incident, a bus was set alight at the Nyanga taxi rank. 

Renewed tension between the local government and the minibus taxi service started last week when Santaco withdrew its participation from the minibus taxi task team — an initiative aimed at addressing permit barriers and other grievances in the Western Cape.

A meeting was convened between the taxi council, its executives and regional associations in response to the city’s enforcement operations earlier this week which resulted in 15 minibus taxis being impounded and saw several people arrested.

Taxi strike
A bus was torched at Nyanga taxi rank

Santaco’s deputy chair Nceba Enge said all the taxis across the region were being “called” as he spoke to the Mail & Guardian.

“We are hopeful that they [the local government] will feel the pain of the people that are out there without transport, now, as we speak,” said Enge, while sharing a video showing  Mitchells Plain’s northern transport interchange empty as people gathered at the rank were left stranded. 

In a statement, Santaco said it had taken a decision to embark on a strike from 3pm on Thursday and resume services on 10 August. 

“This decision has not been taken lightly, but as an industry, we are left with no other

option but to embark on this stayaway, due to the frivolous impoundment operations run by the government, which has had a negative impact on our operators and industry.”

According to Santaco’s provincial spokesperson Mandla Hermanus, 6 000 taxis have been impounded since January. 

“During this stayaway there will be no march or any form of protests that will take place. All operations will stop and we have urged our operators to refrain from any acts of violence and threatening behaviour,” reads the statement.