GEORGE NEWS - Taxi services in George remain suspended for the sixth day and Go George buses are still operating on limited routes, escorted by traffic officers.
The hub near the taxi rank is empty and guarded by law enforcement officials. The rank just across the road is also empty with no taxis in sight.
This follows last week’s stand-off between the local taxi industry and traffic authorities. At least 13 taxis were impounded, leading to local taxi associations suspending services in George. Four vehicles were set alight last week Thursday and, due to safety concerns, Go George started operating on certain routes only.
No one has been arrested in connection with the torching of the four vehicles and the investigation continues.
In a statement last Friday, Minister Donald Grant said he plans to close taxi ranks in George following days of violence and criminal acts, including the torching of two George municipal traffic patrol cars and the petrol bombing of the private vehicle of a Go George Bus Service employee. “I, as the Western Cape Minister of Transport and Public Works, have published a notice in the Government Gazette, making known my intention to implement extraordinary measures to protect commuters and secure infrastructure.”
However, no taxi ranks have been closed yet.
Go George said this afternoon that only New Dawn Park 1A, Harmony Park 1B, Syferfontein / Rosedale - CBD 60, Rosemoor 53, CBD - Mall 7 and Blanco 2 are currently operational with limited buses and will run only until 19:00 tonight. No other routes are in operation at the moment.
Police said this afternoon the situation is volatile but stable. According to the Southern Cape police spokesperson, Captain Malcolm Pojie, they are “monitoring the situation very carefully and officers have been deployed at strategic points from where they will take action if needed”.
Alleged incidents of assault
Pojie said they are also aware of two alleged incidents where two men were assaulted. Yesterday afternoon a taxi driver from Parkdene transporting workers home from Wilderness was allegedly stopped by a group of men and assaulted. This morning another man transporting commuters to town in his private vehicle was also allegedly assaulted when he dropped them off in the CBD.
“We are aware of these alleged incidents but no formal charges have been laid with the police for investigation,” said Pojie.
No total shutdown
Messages were spread on social media platforms yesterday, Sunday 19 May, that the taxi industry would embark on a strike this morning that would see roads being closed to prevent motorists from leaving or entering Thembalethu, Parkdene and Lawaaikamp. This strike however did not take place this morning.
Xola Swapi of the George Community Forum (GCF) said they had no plans to organise a strike. “We only woke up this morning to see if people are adhering to our instruction of the no vehicles such as mini buses transporting people to work or to school,” said Swapi.
Swapi and a group of men, who he said are George Link shareholders, gathered outside the offices of the provincial traffic department this morning to demand to speak to management. It is not clear at this stage if they did meet with anyone.
George Herald tried to contact the forum (GCF) this afternoon but was told that the forum and other role players were in a meeting.
Read related articles:
- Effect of taxi strike on employees
- Go George: Limited services
- Go George bus service suspended
- Update: Go George schedule on Sunday
- Update: Taxi suspension continues
- George Community Forum responds to Grant
- Grant plans to shut down taxi ranks in George
- Stranded commuters walk to work
- Commuters stranded
- Taxi operations suspended
- Update: Taxis block CBD
- Taxis block Go George hub
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