Taxi operators in Alex resumed services this morning (26 June) following the previous day’s strike which crippled Alex and parts of the city.
The strike was said to have been against the Joburg Metro Police Department’s (JMPD) Buya Mtheto (Bring back the law) operation which impounded many taxis and other vehicles for various infringements of road and transport regulations.
The taxi drivers’ action elicited a response from Michael Sun, MMC for Public Safety in the City of Joburg. In a statement, Sun said they will not be intimidated nor back down. “We will certainly not be bullied into submission by individuals who promote lawless conduct and behaviour. “Nor surrender to lawlessness by illegal, non-compliant and irresponsible taxi operators. They should not expect us to look away while they play with the lives of commuters and other motorists on the road.”
The strike resulted in the usually bustling Alex streets being quiet on the day with no hooting nor a single taxi in sight.
An Alex News journalist was the victim of an assault by some taxi drivers for recording a conversation with desperate commuters, and a motorist was allegedly manhandled by the same drivers who accused him of trying to transport the same commuters.
In Killarney, a bakkie driver was allegedly intimidated for giving stranded commuters a lift; and the Alex Magistrates’ Court postponed some cases when staff and those coming for hearings failed to turn up.
In reference to the operation which started at the beginning of the year, Sun asked affected operators to engage with council on the matter maturely and professionally. The operation is said to be unselective and targets all un-roadworthy, unlicensed and illegal vehicles, including taxis, across the city.
“It’s to ensure compliance by motorists with the National Road Traffic Act and City by-laws,” said Sun.
Since the commencement of the operation, over 500 unroadworthy, unlicensed and illegal mini-bus taxis and more than 60 illegal dumper trucks are said to have been impounded. Containers found illegally on council land and advertising trailers along main roads are targetted.
According to Sun, the exercise will also promote and enable lawful and responsible public transport operators to flourish. He urged all commuters, transport business owners and motorists to cooperate with each other to ensure safer roads for all.
The owners of impounded vehicles will each be charged R2 815 excluding the daily storage fee of R115 to recover them.