Three buses were burnt out and the hijacking of a fourth thwarted by law enforcement officers as a two-day taxi strike got underway in Cape Town on Monday.
The South African National Taxi Association (Santaco) in the Western Cape embarked on the protest in response to the suspension of the city’s Blue Dot Taxi initiative – which rewards good behaviour and passenger service – due to a lack of funding.
The organisation is also seeking a review of bylaws which have seen scores of taxis impounded by city authorities.
“Cowardly attacks were launched on some public transport vehicles earlier this morning in Khayelitsha when two Golden Arrow buses and a MyCiTi bus [were] burnt out,” said mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith.
“It has become the norm for certain roleplayers within the public transport sector to attempt to destroy the competition and burn out competing public transport vehicles.”
Law enforcement officers were deployed on buses to ensure the safety of passengers.
“A Golden Arrow bus was hijacked, but our undercover law enforcement officers were able to intercept the bus and arrest the hijacker,” Smith added.
Early indications were that the strike had limited impact, he said, other than in Khayelitsha where Pama Road, Mongezi Road, Steve Biko Road and Japhta K Masemola Road were affected, with further limited protest action on Baden Powell Drive.
Police spokesperson Brig Novela Potelwa said SAPS deployments would focus on possible disruptions and violence to alternative modes of transport available to commuters and road users, as well as other infrastructure.