/ 7 August 2023

Two killed, buses and cars torched as Cape Town taxi strike continues

Whatsapp Image 2023 08 07 At 10.23.00
The skeleton of a burned out bus on the N2, near Borcherds Quarry, Cape Town. Photo supplied

Violence, road closures and vandalism of public and private vehicles in Cape Town continue as the minibus taxi strike enters its fifth day after the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) announced a seven-day provincial shutdown on Thursday last week. 

Santaco dismissed rumours that the shutdown had been terminated following discussions with the local government.

Instead, the taxi council said in a statement on Sunday it was “with great disappointment” that “talks between government and the Santaco leadership, that took place in an attempt to resolve the cause for the taxi stay away, was suspended”. 

The Golden Arrow Bus Services has obtained a court interdict against Santaco and its eight affiliated associations to not intimidate, harass, threaten or interfere with Golden Arrow’s operations, its employees and passengers.

Ten Golden Arrow buses have been torched since Thursday, the bus services spokesperson, Bronwen Dyke-Beyer, said on Monday.   

Seven vehicles belonging to the City of Cape Town were set alight when a city depot in Delft was petrol-bombed on Saturday evening. Three city vehicles were torched in Makhaza. 

In another incident on Friday evening, a law enforcement officer was shot and killed when the marked city vehicle the officers were driving in came under fire. According to preliminary reports and footage of the vehicle – which the Mail & Guardian has seen – the vehicle had 10 gunshots to its exterior.  

“This callous attack must be condemned in the strongest terms, and we will not rest until those responsible are caught and brought to justice,” the mayoral committee member for community safety, JP Smith, said. 

The city announced a R250 000 reward for information that can lead to a breakthrough in the murder.

Another person was fatally shot near Cape Town international airport when a driver opened fire on a group of people throwing stones at passing motorists. 

Provincial police spokesperson, Novela Potelwa said: “The reports from the scene indicate that a motorist travelling along Airport Approach at approximately 4.35am on Monday morning was pelted with stones. The driver of the vehicle responded by firing several shots. As a result, a yet-to-be-identified person was killed, another seriously wounded and two other sustained not-so-serious injuries.”

As a result of the strike, 287 420 learners have not been able to attend school, the Western Cape premier’s office announced on Monday. Further strain has also been placed on health and emergency services. 

Santaco said in a statement last week that the decision to strike had 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”.  

The taxi council and its associations have on several occasions denied any involvement in the violence that has ensued since embarking on the strike.