All private vehicles that are being used as taxis or that are operating as taxis will be impounded and owners or drivers will be arrested, announced transport, community safety and liaison MEC Mxolisi Kaunda. This comes after his suspension of all taxis in Ladysmith last month following escalating tension and violence among operators.
Kaunda said that law enforcement will come down hard as from tomorrow (4 January) on anyone ferrying passengers to and from the specific points in Ladysmith. Operators have to adhere to the six month suspension while investigations continue into taxi violence incidents in Ladysmith.
It was further reported, that Public Safety and the police have their hands full, after private vehicles such as bakkies transporting commuters were resorting to violence to influence one another.
According to police, drivers transporting on the “sideline” are taking the law into their own hands and are threatening each other with firearms while transporting passengers. This has forced Public Safety officers to close down the entrances to taxi ranks in the CBD.
Public Safety officers and police were seen patrolling the areas in an effort to stop the intimidation of the private owner vehicles.
At the end of last month roads were blocked along the Roosboom area, but the matter was speedily attended to the Ladysmith police.
Speaking to local business, the taxi suspension has had a negative effect on business in and around Ladysmith. “We have been busy, but not the way it was in the past.” A local filling station said that they were feeling the pinch as taxis were not filling petrol because of the suspension.
No agreements between rival taxi bodies have as yet been reached.