Looting breaks out as taxi strike drags on

By Buziwe Nocuze

Violence and looting erupted in malls across Cape Town on Monday in the wake of the ongoing taxi strike, plunging sections of the city into chaos.

Thousands of people do not have access to public transport, leaving them unable to travel to work or school, adding to the already high frustration levels.

Looting has occurred in some areas, with videos circulating on social media, capturing brazen individuals running away with stolen items such as TVs, fridges and other expensive items.

SAPS have responded to looting at malls in Gugulethu, Mfuleni, Nyanga, Khayelitsha, and Kraaifontein. 

Colonel Andre Traut, SAPS spokesperson in the Western Cape, reported that protesters broke into shops and made off with household appliances, clothing and alcohol. 

“Five suspects were arrested in Gugulethu for possessing suspected stolen items. Cases of public violence are under investigation, and more arrests are likely as the police continue their inquiries,” said Traut.

He said police are actively investigating cases of public violence.

The City has closed facilities in volatile areas to safeguard staff and prevent further vandalism. 

Rob Quintas, the City’s MCM for Urban Mobility, said he was very concerned about the impact of the taxi strike on residents’ livelihoods and emphasised that discussions or negotiations could not take place while violence and intimidation continued.

“It is absolutely tragic that thousands of households are unable to earn a living or commute to work or schools due to the sustained attack on public transport services across the city,” he said. 

Residents expressed their disappointment and fear over the consequences of the looting.

“I knew that if the strike continued, something like this would happen,” said an anonymous resident. 

“I don’t understand how normal people can do something like this.” 

Others worried about job losses and the impact on the community, calling for the immediate suspension of Santaco’s taxi strike.

Tensions first boiled over last Thursday when several taxis were impounded by law enforcement officials, leading to violent clashes with taxi drivers.

Since then, several buses, trucks and private cars have been stoned and torched by rioters across the city, and at least three people have been killed.

Pictured above: Residents who were carrying a TV and fridge dropped them and ran for their lives when they saw police in the area

Image source: Supplied


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