Taxi mayhem in Hout Bay

Taxi drivers caused an uprising in Hout Bay on Wednesday March 27, after several gunshots went off opposite the police station.

Taxi violence in Hout Bay on Wednesday morning saw a man shot dead, multiple shots fired and a road blockade causing traffic gridlock.

About 40 shots were fired during the early morning mayhem, according to a statement from ward councillor Roberto Quintas

The taxi operators blockaded the town’s main thoroughfare with their vehicles, metres from the police station, from about 5am.

This bottled up traffic approaching from the Constantia Nek side of the town.

The community police forum advised the public to find alternative routes.

Hout Bay police spokeswoman, Warrant Officer Tanya Lesch, said a 39-year-old man had been shot dead.

Furious locals accused taxi operators of holding the town hostage.

“These taxis must go. Completely. We have insufficient law enforcement to reign them in and they are a complete and utter menace to society,” said Rayan Slim. I could hear them across the bay. It sounded like a civil war just ignited!” said Marc Wilson.

Mr Quintas condemned the violence and road blockades and said he hoped those responsible would be brought to justice.

“It is alleged that the blockade and violence is due to permit, route and licensing issues,” he said. 

“Permit issues do not allow anyone the right to block roads and prevent ordinary citizens from their freedom of movement. Many of our residents and particularly our poorest cannot get to work today which directly affects their livelihoods.

“Tour buses and visitors which bring much needed revenue and job creation to Hout Bay cannot access the area, and our emergency services are also prevented from accessing areas that are on lockdown.”

This is not the first time taxi drivers have blocked off roads in Hout Bay.

In June last year, access to Imizamo Yethu was obstructed because of feuding between the Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations (CODETA ) and the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (CATA).

Charmaine Bailey, spokeswoman for the Hout Bay-Wynberg Taxi Association, alleged that the blockade was due to permit, route and licensing issues.

“The Hout Bay Taxi Association shares the Claremont route, with five minibus taxis and five sedans operating at any one time,” she said. “Cata drivers have claimed that Codeta have been operating on their routes illegally.”

No arrests have yet been made.

Cata and Codeta representatives could not be reached for comment by the time this edition went to print.