Tensions simmer after Durban taxi clampdown
Jeff Wicks, News24
Durban - The eThekwini Metro Police clamped down on errant taxi operators over the weekend, impounding nearly 300 minibuses.
The operation was part of route permit enforcement, and comes at a time when the minibus taxi industry in Durban is on the brink of war.
In May, when a similar clampdown was enforced, the Durban city centre was shut down amidst violent protests by taxi drivers and owners. Police fired teargas and rubber bullets at mobs of taxi drivers who damaged buildings and municipal vehicles.
Sources within the Metro Police confirmed that an order to stamp out route permit violators was issued at the weekend.
“The officers arrived at work and were told to go out and look for those who either had not displayed or did not have valid route permits. Minibuses, buses and even meter taxis were impounded for non-compliance,” one source said.
Once a taxi has been impounded the driver is released and once the owner provides proof that they own the vehicle, they are arrested and charged.
The traffic court then imposes a fine, sometimes of up to R5 000. The owner pays the impound fees and the taxi is released.
During the last violent strike, Mayor James Nxumalo appeared to kowtow to the taxi drivers in the face of threats.
The details of the deal reached between the city and the taxi bosses were never revealed.