Buses torched as Cape Town taxi strike turns violent

Dylan Bettencourt

A major taxi strike caused major blockages on Thursday morning on the N2 highway near Cape Town as three buses were set alight. 

Taxi operators announced they would strike on Thursday over a number of issues affecting the industry, among them the impounding of taxis. 

City of Cape Town Traffic Services spokesperson Richard Coleman said taxi drivers blocked passage into the city in the early hours of the morning at New Way. 

As the strike increased in tension with angry commuters, three Golden Arrow buses were set alight in Nyanga, Bloekombos and Mitchells Plain.

Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata) spokesperson Mandla Hermanus said around 2,000 taxi operators will take part in the strike. 

The disgruntled taxi operators were set to march to the office of Western Cape Premier Alan Winde.

Winde, however, has slammed the taxi operators for allowing the strike to not just cause disruption across the city but for allowing it to get violent. 

“I’m really unhappy. They could have just picked up the phone and said, ‘We’d like to come and see you’. I’ve met with them before and they come along and sit in the boardroom and we have a discussion,” he told CapeTalk

Several traders across the affected areas have closed their doors for the day as staff members are unable to get to work. 

Premier Winde said the halting of the economy is unacceptable while the stoning and burning of buses is illegal. 

“There’s no need to really disrupt the economy the way they are doing and of course the illegal behaviour of burning buses and stoning buses is just absolutely unacceptable,” he said. 

As the tension eased and the highways reopened at around 10.30am, the taxi operators began their march to the office of Winde as well as the police station to hand over a memorandum with their demands. 

Local police are yet to make any arrests despite spokesperson Warrant Officer Joseph Swartbooi confirming that violent incidents took place. 

Image source: @SaTrucker