Angry residents burn tyres and barricade streets

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

Residents of Buffelsdraai in Verulam, north of Durban, went on the rampage yesterday morning and barricaded roads by burning tyres to protest against a R1 hike in taxi fares.

Local taxi operators increased taxi fares from R5 to R6 without consulting the affected communities and angry residents barricaded roads by burning tyres from 4am.

No taxis were operating yesterday and commuters from the area were unable to go to work.

Incensed locals said they were not happy with the fare increase last year - from R4 to R5.

When they saw notices informing them of a further increase, their anger boiled over. Resident Vusi Mavundla said they were being robbed of their hard-earned cash by this latest increment.

"This is daylight robbery and the community cannot sit back and do nothing. People are struggling because of the high rate of unemployment. Having to work for transport is just not on," he said.

Another resident, who did not want to be identified, said they had been experiencing problems with local taxis, which she described as "coffins".

"We are sick and tired of these taxis. We are not going to allow them to exploit us like this," she said.

Earlier this year a local taxi overturned, killing three people and injuring others after it failed to stop. The brakes were allegedly not working.

In an attempt to calm the situation, local councillor Mthunzi Dlamini, selected a 10-member steering committee to negotiate with local taxi operators.

The committee met with operator's yesterday afternoon. "We agreed fares would only increase by 50c in August and not by R1 as demanded by taxi operators," Dlamini said.

Dlamini said there was no consultation between residents and taxi operators. This had resulted in the violence.