37 taxi drivers nabbed in crackdown

Kgotso Makaane

Kgotso Makaane

At least 37 taxi drivers were arrested and 47 unroadworthy taxis impounded yesterday by the Johannesburg Metro Police in a joint special operation with the SAPS in Fourways.

The taxi drivers were charged with offences ranging from driving without public driving permits, licences and licence registrations.

A driver, Alpheus Moyo, produced a Zimbabwean licence.

Operation Thiba came after members of the public and motorists complained to the JMPD and SAPS that an illegal taxi rank had been opened at the corner of William Nicol Drive and Sunrise Boulevard opposite the Fourways Crossing Mall.

"Operation Thiba is aimed at totally removing unroadworthy and unlicensed taxis from the road," said JMPD head of special operations Sipho Mahlangu.

The operation, which started on Tuesday, will run through to Friday.

"We will be using the element of surprise," Mahlangu said.

Some of the taxis, dubbed moving coffins, have no passenger windows and safety belts.

There are no side and rear view mirrors. Lights and wires hang from the dashboards and there are no handbrakes.

Douglasdale police spokesman Superintendent Onica Lekalakala said: "Taxis are a big problem in our area but we are dealing with them accordingly.

"This operation has been a success because it has led to the arrest of 37 taxi drivers.

"That will send a message to other drivers to obey the law."

Lekalakala said 90percent of the drivers had no permits and refused to use rank facilities provided by the City of Johannesburg.