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In defence of taxi drivers

By unknown | Sep 25, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

David Zakhele, a reader of this column, felt strongly enough about the treatment meted out to taxi drivers that he wrote in their defence.

David Zakhele, a reader of this column, felt strongly enough about the treatment meted out to taxi drivers that he wrote in their defence.

He says taxi drivers are the most abused workers who are not properly represented by any union or labour law at government level. The government deals with owners through Santaco or taxi associations, leaving out the poor overworked drivers.

He says skills training is not sufficient to deal with the lack of people skills among these young men. "Metro cops only make it worse by issuing them tickets, but never call them to workshops on how to avoid getting tickets or how to behave when stopped by metro cops," he wrote.

"Commuters vent their anger on the poor souls, refuse to board rickety taxis. This means the driver of that taxi will have to work double to make up his normal daily takings.

"He could face dismissal and has nowhere to go and file for unfair dismissal. The only way is to either 'steal' passengers on other association routes, which can create shooting and taxi wars, or drive like a maniac to get there first.

"It's a shame to see how drivers are treated by commuters and owners who are very arrogant and plain insensitive. Taxi drivers are looked down upon by commuters and owners of the vehicles.

"When the late Khabzela was still driving taxis we never saw in him a DJ or even a radio personality. We only saw an ugly, boney taxi driver. We all know what a talented person the young man was (may his soul be blessed)."

Taxi drivers, like anyone who does a so-called "low" job, are always looked down upon by taxi commuters. School children will eat in a taxi and just drop their rubbish there, Zakhele wrote.

"When the next group of people get in they expect the taxi to be spotlessly clean. When does the brother get a chance to clean a taxi during rush hour?

"Not so long ago the City of Joburg had a draft by-law proposal for taxis where they asked commuters to give their opinions about such a law.

"They do not teach the taxi driver what to do about a passenger who is unruly or commits traffic violations. Yes, commuters hang out of windows or throw out rubbish out of a moving taxi. Some passengers see nothing wrong in doing that.

"Lest I forget that taxi drivers are sometimes rude, impatient as well as very vulgar. But that is dependent on how commuters interact with them.

"If you treat them as humans they are the most friendly people. I have never in my life had an argument with a taxi driver or queue marshal.

"Our so-called celebrities disrespect these people, but when they were still looking for that audition, they relied on the trusted Zola Budd," he wrote.


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