Taximen disrupt transport summit

Vusi Ndlovu

Vusi Ndlovu

Chaos erupted at the Johannesburg taxi summit yesterday when operators hijacked the government's event to register their disapproval of the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system.

Thousands of taxi owners attended the Department of Transport's function at Gallagher Estate in Midrand where they had been invited to participate in a discussion about the BRT project.

Trouble started building up slowly when some delegates questioned the department's director-general, Mpumi Mpofu, about the National Taxi Alliance (NTA).

They continued interrupting her and accused the SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) of selling out by accepting BRT.

The situation worsened when City of Johannesburg's head of transport Rehana Moosajee made a welcoming address. She had tried to impress the delegates by greeting them in isiZulu.

A group of taxi operators at the back of the hall started shouting a Zulu war slogan "Usuthu".

Mpofu tried in vain to calm the angry crowd. Taxi operators called on government officials to leave the hall.

Police were called in but no incident happened.