Frank Maponya

Frank Maponya

At least 29 taxi operators were arrested and six taxis impounded during protests in Groblersdal, Limpopo, yesterday.

Taxi owners will have to fork out no less than R50000 for the release of each vehicle.

Police spokesman Superintendent Mohale Ramatseba said yesterday the operators had been granted a permit to march from Marble Hall to Groblersdal.

Ramatseba said the operators had flouted the stipulations of the permit by going through Moganyaka, a route that was barred to them.

He said the marchers were told to use only one lane of the road between the two towns.

"But the drivers used two lanes and caused traffic congestion," Ramatseba said. "This inconvenienced other motorists."

He said the police were forced to use minimum force after the protesters ignored several warnings to stick to one lane.

"We had to use rubber bullets after the protesters became unruly," he said.

"But fortunately there were only minor injuries.

"Some of the injured were also arrested."

The operators' protest was centred on the use of routes in the area.

Those arrested were charged with the contravention of the Road Traffic Act by obstructing other road users and with the contravention of the Gatherings Act.

They were also charged with interfering with the police's duties.

"The police were forced to take strong action against unruly behaviour to protect other road users," he said.

"We don't have a problem with people exercising their right to protest as long as they do not go overboard."

Those arrested are expected to appear in the Groblersdal magistrate's court today.