Stun grenades used to disperse taxi drivers in central Cape Town

Jenna Etheridge, News24

Cape Town – Stun grenades were used to disperse minibus taxi drivers and owners who blocked Strand Street in central Cape Town on Thursday morning in protest against impoundments.

Public order police (Pop) officers had warned about 50 drivers to disperse at around noon. They refused to go and the distinct booming noise of stun grenades could be heard, scattering the 100-strong crowd.

A small number of people were bundled into a police van.

Cars along the busy stretch of road were then free to cross over Adderley Street.

Curious bystanders stood on the sides watching the action.

Minutes later someone standing in St George’s Mall Road launched a rock the size of a fist at a POP van travelling slowly up Strand Street.

Around 20 people ran away as the van stopped and two officers in riot gear emerged, looking for the culprit.

The officers then took out shields and guns loaded with rubber bullets from the van, but it was too late and they hopped back inside.

Around 10 officers in riot gear kept watch as the action dissipated.

The taxi drivers were unhappy over an impoundment operation in Cape Town central and Green Point early on Tuesday morning.

Stranded commuters sitting on an embankment had expressed frustration at not being able to get to work.

The City of Cape Town's traffic services spokesperson Richard Coleman said the operation was aimed at taxis operating without permits or off-route.

He could not immediately provide information on how many vehicles were impounded.

Drivers claimed the impoundments were "not in the spirit" of an apparent agreement with Transport Cape Town over the MyCiti bus roll-out to Hout Bay.

The City had not yet responded to a request for comment and clarification.