An ongoing strike by taxi drivers in Cape Town is disrupting life in South Africa’s tourist capital. The number of victims there is increasing, on Friday a Briton passing through the city was killed. The city authorities have presented the content of the agreement with the taxi drivers’ union Santaco, which is to restore order in the city after a week of chaos.
The National Council of Taxi Drivers (Santaco) went on strike last week to protest legislation that gives Cape Town authorities the power to seize vehicles for offenses such as no license, no number plates and too many passengers.
The situation escalated after 15 minibuses were confiscated on Tuesday, August 1. Santaco declared there was “no other option” than to call for a strike.
Under a government resolution to end strikes in Cape Town, the taxi industry will now be required to give 36 hours’ notice of strike action. The deal is almost the same as the one proposed last Friday, allowing for further confiscation under the Act of vehicles whose drivers are unlicensed to drive them or are unfit for safe road use, explains the South African news portal News24.
City paralysis. It was felt by students, employers and entrepreneurs
The strikes paralyzing the city took a violent turn. Police Minister Bheki Cele said five people were killed and 120 arrested.
Authorities had to intervene in connection with shootings, armed robberies and vehicle thefts and arson. A 40-year-old British man was shot in the head while driving through the city. Two other adults and a baby were also in the same vehicle. Minister Cele assured them that they had been taken to the hospital.
Four other people, including a police officer, have also been killed in recent days in attacks that officials say were linked to the violence and chaos caused by the taxi drivers’ strikes.
Representatives of the taxi and minibus driver unions, whose services are used by 70 percent of South African households, say their members have nothing to do with inciting violence.
Minibus drivers blocked roads in the city during the strike, and thousands of people a day had difficulty getting to work. Nearly half a million children could not get to school, tens of thousands of teachers could not get to work, and many businesses had to temporarily close or reduce their activities. Strikes have also paralyzed hospitals and shops in Cape Town have run out of stock this week due to the inability to safely deliver products to the city.
Main photo source: ESA ALEXANDER/Reuters/Forum