South Africa: 'They Treat Us Like Baboons' - Cape Taxi Drivers Claim Police 'Beatings' As Route Closure Batters Revenue

analysis

Cape Town's commuters have faced violent incidents since taxi unrest flared up in the past month. But for the community where the unrest started, the economic toll of alternative transport is affecting commuters and taxi drivers alike.

"Travelling by taxi was so nice, but now you're afraid because you don't know what's going to happen... each and every minute you have a prayer inside: God, keep us safe - you don't know what's going to happen," said Ayabonga Saliso, a resident of Mbekweni in Paarl, in the Western Cape.

The unrest began in Mbekweni in July, after which it spilled into other parts of Cape Town. It was sparked by a fight between two of the Cape's biggest taxi associations - the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata) and the Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations (Codeta) - over control of the B97 route, which runs between the Mbekweni taxi rank and the Bellville Public Transport Interchange.

A woman walks through the empty Mbekweni taxi rank, in Paarl on Wednesday, 28 July 2021. The highly contested B97 taxi route was officially closed on Monday, 26 July for two months following the taxi violence and shootings which have occured in various communities in...

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