taximen court union
ETHEKWINI taxi bosses have sought Cosatu's help to stop "abuse by the metro police".
The taxi operators are crying foul over "continuous abuse by metro police" who impound their vehicles when drivers fail to pay their traffic fines.
Angry operators, known as the Durban Five Region, have vowed that if metro police bosses failed to address their concerns they would "bring the city to its knees".
Durban Five Region spokesperson Eugene Hadebe said they wanted Cosatu's help so that their protest could have a bigger impact.
"We are holding another meeting this week to finalise our protest action. Our message is clear - if our drivers break the law, they must be arrested. The vehicles should not be impounded. We are in business and it doesn't make sense to impound a roadworthy vehicle because of the driver's fault," Hadebe said.
Last week taxi bosses had vowed to stage a protest but it was postponed. They said they had to pay between R600 and R700 a time to have their vehicles released.
Meanwhile, KwaZulu-Natal Transport Alliance secretary Bafana Mhlongo said they were having a series of meetings over issues affecting their operations in eThekwini.
"Our drivers are also affected. We are meeting in Pietermaritzburg today (yesterday) to decide our next move."
He said they had raised their concerns before with the province's public transport enforcement leaders.
Cosatu provincial secretary Zet Luzipho said they had a strong relationship with taxi operators. He said it was unfair of the municipality to impound their vehicles when drivers failed to pay fines.
"It's strange that the municipality will arrest the taxis while drivers are at fault. If that is true, operators will get our support, but we have to listen to them first," he said.
Metro police's Joyce Khuzwayo said they had never received any formal request from the taxi industry to discuss the matter.
"We have checked with the public transport commander, but there is nothing that came from taxi operators.
"As police we have an open-door policy. If the taxi operators come to us we will engage them."
She said protest action was undesirable since its outcome could not be predicted.