Western Cape e-hailing operators under siege from extortionists
Western Cape transport MEC Daylin Mitchell has urged the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to speed up the prosecution of minibus taxi operators charged with extortion.
On Tuesday, Mitchell said his department has been inundated with complaints from e-hailing operators. He said minibus taxi operators allegedly went as far as impounding e-hailing operators’ vehicles.
“My department has been inundated with complaints from e-hailing operators and private victims of extortion who have been harassed by minibus taxi operators and have had their vehicles impounded when they operate in certain communities and at some shopping malls,” said Mitchell.
“I have recently engaged the e-hailing and minibus taxi industry leadership and asked that they condemn these criminal acts by their members.
“These acts are criminal and I will use all legal avenues available to me to bring these actions to an end. When people linked to the taxi industry are involved in criminal acts such as extortion, intimidation and murder, my department plays a clear supporting role to the SA Police Service and the NPA, whose mandate it is to ensure that the rule of law is applied.”
Mitchell said he has taken up the issue with the relevant authorities. “We have escalated all reports of these serious crimes to the SAPS and the NPA with the request that these cases be prioritised,” he said.
“If any association or operator registered with the provincial taxi registrar is found guilty of such a criminal act in a court of law, the registrar and the provincial regulatory entity may act to deregister such associations or operators and withdraw operating licences of individual owners.”
Mitchell said he would not allow criminals to hold the transport system to ransom.
“Commuters have a right to choose transport of their choice and not to be harassed and intimidated when they choose to use public transport modes and forms which do not suit a selfish few who are protecting their vested interests.
“Leaders of the minibus taxi industry must come out strongly against the ongoing criminal acts of extortion by their members. This is enough. Extortion will no longer be tolerated.”
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