Cape Town – Violence against City officials and assets has increased with the stoning and torching of vehicles and the hijacking of City officials.
A driver from the Recreation and Parks standby team was allegedly hijacked at gunpoint and his truck was torched at the corner of Sheffield Road and Symphony Way in Delft last week.
Community Services and Health Mayco member Zahid Badroodien said the driver was on his way to fetch eight members of his team in Mfuleni after working the standby shift the night before, where teams rotated shifts and made themselves available for call-outs to attend to fallen trees in their area.
“After robbing him of his belongings, the gunmen then chased him out of the vehicle and proceeded to pour petrol on it and set it on fire,” said Badroodien.
He said the value of the truck was about R581 000, and it was carrying equipment worth about R100 000, including four chain-saws, a pole pruner and a radio communication system.
Recreation and Parks foreman Nkululeko Dlongwana said they were now likely to struggle to deal with complaints, because of the incident.
Police spokesperson Joseph Swartbooi said the violence was in response to an alleged integrated taxi operation that was conducted in Nyanga last week, where vehicles were impounded for operating without permits.
South African National Taxi Council provincial spokesperson Gershon Geyer distanced themselves from the violence and unrest in the townships. However, he said the violence was not about transport issues alone, but the criminal activity in the area.
“We have recently met the Transport and Public Works MEC, Daylin Mitchell, and discussions will be ongoing to find lasting solutions,” said Geyer.
Mitchell confirmed that he met with leaders of the taxi industry in an effort to resolve the ongoing violence that started in Nyanga, where buses, government vehicles and private vehicles have been set alight since last week.
He said the violence has caused serious disruptions and unrest in the community, and he has a duty to protect public transport commuters and other road users.
“If the violence continues, I will have no option but to exercise my power and invoke section 91 of the National Land Transport Act (Act 5 of 2009) in the interest of bringing stability and peace in the area,” he said.
He said the act empowers him to identify and close ranks and routes affected by the disruptions in the event that the violence continued or escalated.