Wynberg taxi drivers block access to Hout Bay
“They don’t want others to grow in business,” says Hout Bay taxi driver
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Road at the Hout Bay Main Road Traffic Circle has been cleared and taxis are operating normally again after Wynberg taxi drivers went on strike and blocked the road this morning, causing heavy traffic, road closures and inconvenience to commuters.
When GroundUp got to the scene after being stuck in traffic, many passengers were walking up Main Road because taxis were at a standstill. Taxi drivers and owners were huddled up in small groups talking amongst each other. There was a heavy police presence opposite the road.
Commuters could be seen waiting for buses. Some were getting off a taxi they had just got on, after realising that it wasn’t going anywhere. Two women from Khayelitsha who were walking up Main Road said they had been dropped at the circle and had to walk to reach work in Hout Bay because their taxi was not allowed in.
Only one taxi driver was prepared to speak to us: Hout Bay Taxi Association member, Gary Krweqe. He explained that taxi drivers have begun transporting people from Hout Bay to Claremont because for years there has been no direct service between the two suburbs. The Wynberg drivers are unhappy about this and have demanded that the Hout Bay drivers buy R80,000 permits and a joining fee of R30,000.
“We refused and told them we would explore something else, so we consulted with the City of Cape Town and got documents saying that we would be granted five permits. We are not willing to reveal those documents yet. So when we officially started operating after receiving the permits, the Wynberg drivers blocked us. This is the second time something like this is happening where the road is closed or blocked to stop us from operating,” said Krweqe who was visibly irritated.
“The solution now is up to our umbrella body [Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata)], because this right here is a Cata to Cata issue,” he said.
“Wynberg taxi drivers have decided to block the road for us [drivers to] Claremont. It’s all about enriching themselves, they don’t want others to grow in business. They are not business-minded. They are being extremely unfair. So there won’t be a solution today and this issue will be ongoing throughout the weekend, maybe even Monday. There hasn’t been any violence but who knows what will happen this afternoon when people return from work and school, or on Monday. We will see,” said Krweqe.
© 2016 GroundUp.
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