Relocation of taxi rank stirs up emotions

Frank Maponya

Frank Maponya

A row over the use of a popular long-distance taxi rank has pitted taxi operators against the Polokwane municipality and the Limpopo department of roads and transport.

At the centre of the row are allegations that both the municipality and the department decided to remove taxis from the city centre to the outskirts of the CBD - without any consultation with taxi owners.

The decision did not go down well with members of the Polokwane United Local and Long Distance Taxi Association.

They have vowed to continue using the popular rank.

Taxi operators have argued that the new taxi rank was "too far" from the city centre and created a risk to commuters as they had to pass through dangerous sections of the town to reach it.

Yesterday the municipality sent its officials to remove taxis stationed at Paul Kruger Street, saying that they were "no longer allowed" to operate from there.

Both the municipality and the department argue that the taxis made the area too congested and denied other motorists easy access to the city.

The taxi association's treasurer, Malesela Kgaabi, said they would not move unless they were shown "a better area, closer to the CBD".

"The majority of our customers carry lots of luggage. Their safety must be of paramount importance."

But the traffic department's manager for public transport, Polly Boshielo, said yesterday those taxi operators resisting were doing so "because they did not have valid operating licences".