Taxi associations must be held to account for ongoing violent protests

Issued by Marshall von Buchenroder, MPL
Shadow MEC for Transport

The taxi associations must be held to account for the ongoing violence and destruction of property that is playing out in Nelson Mandela Bay and the rest of the province.

The Democratic Alliance condemns, in the harshest terms, the ongoing violence and is calling on the SAPS to take swift action against anyone who is breaking the law.

Over the past three days, taxi drivers have disrupted the daily lives of Nelson Mandela Bay residents, have wilfully destroyed private property and state infrastructure, and continue to threaten residents’ very lives. Millions of rands of damages have already been incurred.

The abhorrent act of burning out eight Algoa Bay buses last night has caused over R12 million in damages!

The DA understands that SAPS resources are stretched thin, as similar protests have erupted simultaneously across the province. These protests are being coordinated, and the leadership responsible must be held to account.

No matter the grievance, it does not give one the right to threaten lives, destroy infrastructure and break the law. No grievance gives one the right to violate and trample over the rights of another.

The DA congratulates Nelson Mandela Bay mayor, Nqaba Bhanga, for his continuous engagements with the taxi associations, to mediate an end to this protest action.

The question that needs to be asked is where is the MEC of Transport, Weziwe Tikana Gxothiwe, in all this? Where is Premier Oscar Mabuyane?

The DA is calling on National Transport Minister, Fikile Mbalula, and Premier Mabuyane to engage with these individuals and bring an end to these strikes. At the same time, it needs to be made clear to these individuals that there are consequences to their actions.

Law enforcement must act swiftly and arrest anyone breaking the law, including anyone found blocking roads, burning tyres, or throwing stones. All of these are criminal acts and must be dealt with swiftly and to the full extent of the law!

We cannot allow people to use violence and intimidation, threatening the lives of law-abiding citizens, as leverage.