TAXI drivers in Otjiwarongo will henceforth not only have to obey traffic rules, but will also be expected to keep their vehicles and themselves clean.
The Otjiwarongo municipality's traffic department on Thursday announced that it would start issuing fines of N$1 000 to untidy taxi drivers operating in and around the town, while dirty taxis will also cost the drivers N$1 000.
Senior Superintendent Lesley Kauatjama made the announcement at a meeting with taxi drivers at the Orwetoveni assembly point.
He said various fines were decided on by the Otjiwarongo Town Council on August 28.
"The council passed the document containing the list of fines to us, so that we can regulate the flow of traffic in our town. For you it is just to comply," he said.
The taxi drivers also have to pay an annual transportation fee of N$500. Kauatjama said this is because they want to have proper control over the taxi industry at the town.
He said more than 270 taxis currently operate in Otjiwarongo, but only 130 are registered as taxis.
The taxi drivers did not take kindly to the announcement and accused the traffic officers of not treating them well.
"The police and the traffic officers think we are fools. Let me tell you one thing, being a taxi driver is real business, we make money every day," said Tobias Ndakwenongwe, a taxi driver since 2010.
Thomas Shilemba accused traffic officers and the local police of holding grudges and "having attitudes" with taxi drivers.
"You will find a police officer driving slowly in town, busy on his cell phone. Once you overtake him it's an issue. He will stop you and issue a ticket of reckless driving, what is that?" Shilemba questioned.
He also blamed the "dirty roads" in Otjiwarongo for the state of their vehicles.