Police impound 68 minibus taxis

THE Gauteng department of community safety yesterday impounded 68 taxis in Soweto during a joint operation with the Johannesburg Metro Police Department.

THE Gauteng department of community safety yesterday impounded 68 taxis in Soweto during a joint operation with the Johannesburg Metro Police Department.

The operation started at 4am and ended shortly before 9am.

The taxis were impounded during a crime prevention and road safety operation in Zondi, Bara taxi rank and Orlando East.

Spokesperson for community safety Sizwe Matshikiza said his department was only doing its job.

"Reasons for impounding taxis varied, but were mainly related to violation of permit conditions and operating without necessary permits," said Matshikiza.

"In some instances, operators were found operating beyond their routes as stipulated in their permits.

"This often leads to violence. Innocent passengers and other members of the public are often victims of such acts of criminality," Matshikiza said.

He said future operations would also focus on driver fitness and vehicles' roadworthiness .

"Taxi operators will have to pay the imposed fines and produce the required documents to have their vehicles released.

"In instances were a vehicle is impounded because it is not roadworthy, such a vehicle will be released only for purpose of towing it to the nearest garage for repairs," he said.

But the operation did not go down well with taxi owners.

Eliot Khumalo, one of the taxi owners whose taxis were impounded in Zondi, said: "These people want war. We don't know why they are targeting us and frustrating our passengers."

Khumalo was one of about five minibus owners who were left stranded near a filling station after their taxis were impounded.

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