cops relent on operation

JOHANNESBURG Metro Police Department (JMPD) and taxi operators had to convene an urgent meeting on Saturday to avert a strike taxi drivers had planned for today.

JOHANNESBURG Metro Police Department (JMPD) and taxi operators had to convene an urgent meeting on Saturday to avert a strike taxi drivers had planned for today.

JMPD spokesperson Wayne Minnaar, pictured, confirmed yesterday that they suspended Operation Nomakanjani because it would leave commuters stranded.

"We would not like a situation in which commuters would be inconvenienced. That is why we agreed to suspend the operation," Minnaar said.

He said the suspension of Nomakanjani did not mean that taxi drivers had earned a licence to disobey traffic laws. "We will continue arresting drivers for drunk driving, failing to give their names and addresses to officers, obstructing officers while executing their job and reckless driving," Minnaar said.

He said they will issue fines for offences such as skipping red traffic lights, talking on the cellphone while driving and crossing the white line.

About 5000 drivers from 21 taxi associations in Johannesburg had threatened to stage a stay-away which would have left thousands of commuters stranded.

They said there would be no taxi moving in Gauteng and would post representatives in the roads that are entry points to the province to ensure that no taxi entered or left the province.

Spokesperson for the taxi industry Ralph Jones said yesterday that they welcomed the suspension of the operation because they felt it targeted the taxi industry.

"It is not that we want to be above the law or we want to compromise the law. If it was legislated, we want to know how, so we can start educating our drivers about it," Jones said.

About 2000 drivers had been arrested since the launch of the operation in March. Drivers were released on paying a R2000 admission of guilt fine and the vehicle would be released on paying a fine of R600.

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