City Assists To Quell Violence In Wake Of Taxi Protest

Photo Credit:  Eyewitness News

The City of Cape Town’s Safety and Security Directorate has deployed Metro Police, Traffic Services and Law Enforcement officers to assist the South African Police Service in putting an end to the violence that flared up around the city earlier today as part of a protest by taxi drivers. Read more below:

City of Cape Town officers stepped up to assist the South African Police Service (SAPS) to quell violence across the city during a protest by taxi drivers today, 18 September 2017. Our officers, who play a supporting role to the SAPS, came under attack along with buses, commuters and other road users.

‘Metro Police, Traffic Services and Law Enforcement officers were deployed around the city to assist with managing traffic and restoring law and order. Three traffic vehicles were stoned in the violence. No staff were injured, but unfortunately some commuters were wounded. This violent behaviour and blatant aggression against innocent residents will not be tolerated.

‘The City is doing everything possible to ensure that we protect and support the general public and motorists and commuters on our public roads. During a state of public disorder or public violence, the SAPS is in charge of coordinating and commanding the situation. Operational control then vests with them. All available City enforcement and emergency staff have been deployed to respond to the public violence and all standby staff have been called up,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security; and Social Services, Alderman JP Smith

The violence which flared up and continued throughout the early morning commute necessitated the activation of the Joint Operations Centre (JOC) in Goodwood, and the Provincial SAPS JOC.

Incorrect information was also circulated claiming that the Safety and Security Directorate had refused to deploy staff.

‘These unsubstantiated rumours undermine the dedicated staff who put their lives on the line to safeguard people and property. Our officers are deployed where they are needed and Metro Police, Traffic and Law Enforcement officers go beyond the call of duty to assist. For example, SAPS and Metro Police staff were present in Khayelitsha this morning focusing on the areas where motorists were being targeted,’ said Alderman Smith.

Alderman Smith reiterated that the City of Cape Town has no involvement in the granting and issuing of operating licences for public transport operators.

‘The City’s Traffic Service and Metro Police are tasked with enforcement operations and take action against taxi drivers who operate on routes not designated to them or without the necessary documentation/operating licences. Like most other cities, Cape Town has a large taxi industry and our finite resources are stretched to capacity in trying to ensure equity and compliance with the law in all areas of the city. We are committed to working with other agencies in areas where there is a potential for conflict and will work closely with the Western Cape Government, the SAPS and role players,’ said Alderman Smith.

Until half an hour ago the following roads were still affected (all other roads reopened): the N2 incoming diverted onto Spine Road – closed at the R300; and the N7 south-bound closed at Potsdam road. Officers will continue to monitor these areas to ensure the safety of all road users.

The City’s Solid Waste Management Department has had to remove refuse collection vehicles from the following areas: Crossroads, Brown’s Farm, Philippi, Dunoon, Gugulethu, Nyanga and Wynberg. The City will return to affected areas to clear the backlog tomorrow, provided the situation has stabilised by then.

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