POLICE POUNCE ON TAXIS

KwaZulu-Natal taxi operators were left fuming yesterday after the Metro police arrested taxi drivers in two separate operations in Durban.

KwaZulu-Natal taxi operators were left fuming yesterday after the Metro police arrested taxi drivers in two separate operations in Durban.

The first operation was carried out in the early hours of the morning at the Warwick Market, and the second at midday in Durban North.

More than 30 taxi drivers were arrested for various traffic violations.

The operators now say they plan to challenge the arrests in court.

Eugène Hadebe, a spokesperson for the Durban Five Regions Taxi Association, said they were fed up with the Metro police and have decided to take legal action.

"We have run out of words to say, therefore we have chosen to take the matter to court," Hadebe said.

Metro police spokesperson Joyce Khuzwayo said the arrested drivers were wanted for outstanding warrants of arrests for various traffic offences.

"A total of 35 drivers were arrested but the vehicles were released to their owners," Khuzwayo said.

"Only 27 traffic fines were issued, amounting to R160000.

"The operations were part of the municipality's action of collecting outstanding fines and would continue," she said.

Gerald Ferror, president of the KZN Taxi Alliance, said they condemned the Metro police's "victimisation of the taxi industry".

He said they acknowledge that the police had to do their work, but said they treated taxi operators like criminals.

"The police must arrest people for wrongdoings, but they need to show compassion.

"We will no longer hold strikes to protest over such action, but we will take the legal route," Ferror said.

Last month MEC for transport Willies Mchunu had to intervene when taxi operators went on a two-day stayaway in protest against the impounding of their vehicles, leaving thousands of commuters stranded.

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