City of Cape Town and Western Cape officials have condemned a violent protest in Dunoon led by disgruntled minibus taxi owners.
A truck and Dunoon MyCiti bus station were set alight on Friday morning, with a large group of people stoning cars on the N7, said City traffic services spokesperson Richard Coleman.
Western Cape Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz and Cape Town Safety and Security Mayoral Committee Member JP Smith condemned the violence, injuries and damage to public and private property.
“While citizens have the right to protest and freedom of assembly, any protest action which is violent and unlawful is to be condemned in the strongest terms. I call for immediate calm and stabilisation within affected communities,” said Fritz.
The City had 71 traffic officers and 52 vehicles in the affected areas to help with traffic management and clearing of the roads, said Smith.
Dunoon Cape Town: Taxi protest pic.twitter.com/VJNw7HQxnk
— Yusuf Abramjee (@Abramjee) September 26, 2019
He said the Metro Police’s Tactical Response Team had also been deployed, along with staff from other areas, to support officers from the SAPS public order policing unit.
Smith said he hoped to be able to deploy a water cannon soon. It was undergoing repairs after electrical systems damage.
“The unrest started earlier this week – allegedly in response to an operation by our Traffic Service, around minibus taxis. Taxi drivers and owners believe that they should not be fined or arrested for offences and that the City should engage them first in discussions about these offences,” he said.
“This is a preposterous proposal. Public transport operators and owners need to realise that the law applies just as much to them as every other motorist and that they have a larger burden of responsibility than anybody else on the road. Their conduct is a disgrace.”
Dunoon Taxi Association secretary Frank Qotyiwe said they felt targeted by law enforcement in ongoing operations and decided to suspend their routes the last two days.
They wanted the city to reissue taxi operating permits for routes that were both serviced and not serviced by the MyCiti bus, based on a survey which showed there was a demand for taxi services in the area.