| CAPE TOWN

Chaos at Bellville taxi rank

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MEC said rank will be open when it is safe

Photo of empty taxi rank
The Bellville taxi rank was closed when violence erupted last week. Photo: Tariro Washinyira
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Closure of the Bellville taxi rank this week after last week’s violence, left commuters to the chaos of a temporary rank along the road.

Two commuters were injured and hospitalised during violence that erupted last week between Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (CATA), affiliated Bellville Taxi Association (BELLTA) and Bloekombos-Wallacedene Taxi Association (BLOEWATA).

Western Cape MEC for Transport and Public Works Donald Grant said on 22 September that the rank had been closed after consultation with the South African Police Service and the Taxi Registrar.

On Monday afternoon Siphesihle Dube, spokesperson for Grant, said the rank would stay closed “until such time as the authorities have made a determination as to whether it is safe again for the rank to be reopened.”

When GroundUp arrived at the temporary rank at about 1pm on Monday it was chaotic, with conductors calling out their routes, some lifting up posters reading: Mowbray, Mitchells Plain, Philippi, Nyanga, Delft and Belhar. There was a heavy presence of Metro Police. Cape Town taxis were operating from Voortrekker road. Traders selling sweets, chips, fruit and braaied meat inside the taxi rank had moved to the pavement along Robert Sobukwe Road.

CATA spokesperson Andile Seyamo, which operates on the Nyanga-Parow route, said negotiations between Bellta and Bloewata were underway. CATA hoped to resolve the issue by next week, he said.

“It seems there is broken communication between the two associations… Some of the people involved don’t even understand what the problem is,” he said.

But Abdul, a rank marshal who didn’t wish to give his full name, said the taxi drivers were fighting over certain routes.

Abdul said working over the bridge was not safe for both commuters and taxi drivers. “You see the problem we are faced with here … too much noise and confusion. No order at all. We would like the fight to end soon,” he said.

Taxi operator Ayanda told GroundUp that he specialises in Cape Town–Eastern Cape route but also carries passengers on the Nyanga-Bellville route before his late afternoon trip to the Eastern Cape. He said he had just arrived from the Eastern Cape and he was still trying to understand why the taxi rank is closed. “No one is telling me anything,” he said.

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TOPICS:  Transport

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