Three arrested after taxi driver 'tries to run over' traffic cop
Three taxi drivers were arrested after a skirmish with Western Cape traffic officials.
A taxi driver allegedly tried to run over a traffic cop with his minibus during a law-enforcement operation against taxis on the Paarl/Mbekweni route on Monday morning.
The route was closed to taxi operators by the government after it was found to be one of the root causes of a war between rival taxi associations Cata and Codeta, which saw upwards of 80 people murdered since the start of the year.
Western Cape MEC for transport and public works Daylin Mitchell condemned the attacks on traffic officers. He said seven taxis were impounded during a joint operation with the police to deal with possible infringements on the closed route by taxi operators.
“During the impoundment, some taxi operators blocked the road in an attempt to stop the operation,” said Mitchell. “A taxi then drove straight towards a traffic officer with the intention of knocking him over.”
He said the officer fired several shots at the wheels of the taxi with his service pistol, forcing the taxi to stop.
The taxi driver was arrested and charged with attempted murder.
“Two other operators were also arrested. One was charged with assaulting a traffic officer and another with interfering with a law-enforcement officer while exercising his duties.”
Mitchell said there has been a relative calm between the two rival associations contesting the route but the government had decided to implement processes and joint operations, led by the police and the Western Cape transport department, to ensure the agreement signed by the two associations was monitored and that the closure was enforced.
“In the meantime, Cata- and Codeta-affiliated parties have been participating in a formal arbitration process to determine who has the rights to operate on route B97 and other contentious routes in the area,” he said.
“This process is nearing completion, with the last hearing having been conducted on Friday October 8 and the arbitrator now preparing her findings and recommendations for publishing in early November.
“We will not tolerate illegal operations on this closed route — nor will we tolerate attacks on our officers, who are doing their jobs in enforcing this closure. The law will be upheld, and those who break it will be held accountable.”