Umlazi commuters left stranded
Thousands of Umlazi residents were stranded yesterday because two taxi associations clashed over fares and routes.
A group of angry taxi operators blocked the Mangosuthu Highway.
They demanded that the Masokuhle Taxi Association, which had reduced fares and brought in outside help, be removed from the Mega City rank.
Angry drivers, armed with sticks, knobkerries and stones, marched on the Masokuhle taxis at Mega City.
Protesting drivers also blocked off roads from V Section to the taxi rank.
In the township long queues of commuters waited at taxi ranks. Those who managed to get taxis could not go further than V-section because the road was blocked.
Some passengers returned home while others headed for already packed trains and buses.
Commuter Thando Mthembu said she spent almost two hours waiting for transport to work.
"Taxi bosses should solve their problems," Mthembu said. "Any disruption means we are late for work. This is unacceptable."
KZN Taxi Alliance chairman Eugene Hadebe said Umlazi operators were angry because Masokuhle lowered fares from R7 to R4.
He condemned Masokuhle members and said they should have negotiated the decrease with Umlazi taxi bosses.
"When the mall rank was opened it was agreed that Masokuhle would operate from there and Umlazi taxis would pick up passengers at the robot," he said.
Hadebe said Masokuhle could not keep up with the increase in passengers and asked vehicles from outside the township to help without informing the Umlazi taxi bosses.
"As a result they prevented Umlazi taxis from picking up passengers going to town at the mall robot as was agreed," he said.
"A decision was taken and supported by transport, community safety and liaison MEC Bheki Cele to remove the outside taxis."
Hadebe, who addressed the protesting drivers, said an amicable solution to the crisis would be found.
Police captain Thomas Tyala of the Durban Metro police said: "There were no violent incidents."