8 November 2017

South Africa: Four Drivers Arrested in Chaotic Taxi Operator March

Four people were arrested and a journalist robbed of his camera during a National Taxi Alliance (NTA) march in Tshwane's CBD on Wednesday.

Police spokesperson Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said two taxi drivers were arrested after allegedly assaulting a female Tshwane Metro Police officer, who had been trying to persuade taxi drivers to clear a road in Cullinan.

A third taxi driver was arrested in Sinoville, north of Pretoria, after allegedly driving into oncoming traffic and colliding with three vehicles.

Four people were injured.

The fourth arrest was for reckless and negligent driving in Mamelodi after a taxi driver allegedly knocked into a police officer who had been directing traffic and clearing congestion.

The police officer was taken to hospital for treatment.

News24 video journalist Inga Mbambisa was accosted by five men and robbed of his camera as taxis made their way to the old Putco depot in Marabastad, where the march started.

One of the men, armed with a knobkerrie, joined the group and tried to take a swing at the journalist.

However, Mbambisa managed to grab the weapon.

A struggle ensued during which Mbambisa's camera was taken.

Mbabisa was escorted to the Pretoria Central police station where he reported the incident.

Scenes from the taxi strike in Tshwane on Wednesday (Alex Mitchley, News24)

In Johannesburg, Metro Police spokesman Wayne Minnaar confirmed that they were investigating an incident in which a commuter was stabbed on the N1, allegedly by taxi operators, during a go-slow.

The NTA and its affiliated taxi associations descended on Tshwane CBD on Wednesday to hand over memoranda, which listed the grievances and issues affecting the taxi industry.

The issues related to Aarto Act, government subsidies for public transport and operating licenses.

NTA spokesperson Theo Malele condemned criminal acts.

However, he added that the protest could have been avoided altogether if Minister of Transport Joe Maswanganyi had addressed concerns instead of ignoring their repeated calls for engagement.

"We are here today for the display of arrogance by the Minister of Transport," Malele said.

NTA President Francis Masitsa called for Maswanganyi's removal, saying that he treated the taxi industry with disdain.

"We are calling the president to fire the minister because, not only is this minister useless, but he is hopeless and smokeless," said Masitsa.

The NTA has given the government 21 days to reply to their grievances.

They have threatened court action if the government did not reply.

Source: News24

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