More than 150 minibuses impounded

Kamogelo Seekoei

Kamogelo Seekoei

Taxi operators were fuming after more than 150 of their minibuses were impounded on Johannesburg roads yesterday.

The Gauteng department of community safety clamped down fiercely on taxis yesterday in a bid to end a bloody conflict between two Johannesburg taxi associations over routes.

The Dobsonville-Roodepoort- Leratong-Johannesburg Taxi Association (Dorljota) and the Faraday Taxi Association (FTA), which operate from the Bree Street taxi rank in central Johannesburg, have been warring over which group should operate from the Clearwater Mall and the nearby Makro retailer in Roodepoort.

Since April more than 12 operators and passengers have been killed. On Monday, Sicelo Mabaso of Top Six said there was no war between the two associations.

Yesterday, officers escorted the confiscated taxis from Hendrik Potgieter Road and Radiokop to their offices in Industria West.

Lesley Mdingane, of the department, said the officers were targeting illegal operators who they believed were causing the conflict.

He said the operation started on Friday when 59 taxis were impounded.

"We impounded 109 vehicles today [yesterday], which brings the total to 168."

Mdingane said taxi operators had to bring a valid permit or operator's licence, the registration papers of the vehicle and pay an admission of guilt fine to recover their vehicles.

He said operators also had to produce a copy of their ID and a letter confirming membership of a taxi association.

Joe Mophuting, of Dorljota, was furious about the campaign, saying his association was operating legally on the route.

Mophuting said the officers had not given any reason to drivers for impounding their vehicles.

"How are people going home tonight?" he asked.

Joe Kgatitse, of FTA, said they were told they would not get their vehicles back until the conflict had been resolved.

He said his association accepted the government's decision because people's lives were in danger.