Motorists have reportedly come under threat from taxi operators in some areas recently.
Those transporting passengers to work in privately-owned vehicles and who are charging a fee for the service, have apparently been stopped and questioned by some taxi operators.
Although it would appear that there have been several such incidents, none have been reported to law enforcement authorities, the Department of Transport or the police.
Three disgruntled workers contacted the Herald after they were stopped and threatened by a group of taxi operators last Wednesday while travelling to work in a colleague’s car.
The men live in Nyandezulu but are employed in Marburg, travelling to and from their place of work with a colleague during the week.
Fearing for their lives, they asked not to be named.
“We had just left Nyandezulu when I was forced to stop my car. They asked me why I had two passengers. I explained that these were my colleagues and we were on our way to work.
“The taxi drivers told me this was not allowed and my colleagues must take a taxi to and from work. I tried to explain, but I was threatened and they forced my colleagues out of the vehicle,” said the driver.
The two passengers were taken to the taxi rank, where they boarded a taxi to Marburg and walked the final kilometre to their workplace.
“These operators are stopping most cars with passengers. It’s happening all over the South Coast and it’s not fair. Taxi stops are far from our homes and, in our case, we live close to each other and we work together. This is abuse – people have the right to choose how to travel,” said one of the passengers.
The other said they had not reported the incident to the police because they feared being threatened again.
“We citizens have a constitutional right to use any legal vehicle of our choice,” he added.
Christopher Madlala, chairman of the Nyandezulu Taxi Association, said privately-owned vehicles travelling from Nyandezulu towards Marburg and Port Shepstone were charging fees.
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“We, as taxi operators, have a business to run. It is unfair that these motorists get away with what they are doing. Yes, we have stopped vehicles and questioned the drivers as to whether they are charging their passengers. If you travel with your family, have given someone a free lift or for private use we don’t mind. If there’s no financial gain, we don’t have a problem.”
He added that taxi operators were losing money to those motorists charging fees for a ride.
The regional chairman for the South African National Taxi Council, Santaco, could not be reached for comment at the time of going to print.
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