taxi blockades 'not on'

Tebogo Monama

Tebogo Monama

Gauteng safety MEC Firoz Cachalia has instructed the police and traffic officials not to negotiate with taxi drivers who block roads during route disputes.

Cachalia said this on Monday at a briefing where he outlined the province's immediate plans to fight crime.

He said that the ongoing taxi violence was unacceptable, and that taxi drivers closing off major roads inconvenienced other motorists.

Last week there were violent clashes between rival Johannesburg taxi associations over control of routes.

The feuding associations - Alexandra Transport Association (Ata) and Alexandra-RandburgMidrand-Sandton Taxi Association (Armsta) disrupted traffic in Kyalami.

On Friday, during a joint operation of the SAPS and Johannesburg Metro police, 30 taxis were impounded on Corlett Drive, in Bramley.

Other taxi drivers blocked roads in solidarity with those whose taxis were impounded.

Hours before Cachalia's speech, a 64-year-old security guard was shot at the Alexandra taxi rank.

A taxi driver was shot and injured last week.

Cachalia's spokesman, Dumisani Ngema, said: "Blocking roads is a criminal offence. Anyone who does that will be arrested and charged."

He said the department would continue to engage with taxi industry stakeholders to solve the escalating violence.