'What's going on?' metro officer asks Mmusi Maimane in packed taxi

06 June 2018 - 15:48 By Penwell Dlamini
Leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA) Mmusi Maimane.
Leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA) Mmusi Maimane.
Image: SIPHIWE SIBEKO / REUTERS

Metro police officers are used to stopping rickety and overloaded taxis in Johannesburg but one officer got a surprise when he pulled over a packed one ferrying DA leader Mmusi Maimane.

You must give all of us who are not working R500 a month.

The packed Quantum was moving slowly out of the busy Noord taxi rank on Wednesday morning when the man in uniform pulled it over.

“People are standing inside the combi. What is going on?” the officer asked firmly.

Maimane looked through the opened window and greeted the officer. “It is me‚ sir. I will pay the fine for all the people packed in this Quantum‚” he said smiling.

When the officer realised that it was really the leader of the Democratic Alliance‚ he took a more lenient approach and eventually let the vehicle continue on its way.

The taxi was ferrying journalists along with their cameras‚ wanting to hear Maimane's views of how the fuel hike could potentially harm the taxi industry.

Maimane had arrived at the Noord taxi rank limping on Wednesday morning.

On his arrival‚ he greeted everyone and then went to speak to some taxi commuters who snapped images of him at the crowded taxi rank.

Some used the opportunity to raise what they deemed to be burning issues with Maimane.

“Please speak to Bongani Baloyi [the mayor of Midvaal] to give me electricity that side. I’m struggling to get electricity‚ please help‚” one man said in SeTswana.

As he spoke to the taxi drivers for a moment‚ another man put in a different request.

“You must give all of us who are not working R500 a month. We need money also‚” one man said nonchalantly‚ before walking away. 

Maimane then boarded a minibus taxi‚ taking a seat in the row directly behind the driver.

There was‚ however‚ no counting of money or passing of taxi fares to the driver as is normally the case. Maimane proceeded to conduct media interviews inside the vehicle.

One of the DA leaders made everyone aware that it was actually Maimane’s birthday. Everyone cramped in the vehicle sang happy birthday.

It was now around lunch time and traffic around the taxi rank was building‚ signalling an end to Maimane's taxi ride.

After going around the taxi rank‚ the driver parked‚ dropping a limping Maimane where he had initially been dropped off by his driver.

Maimane said the rising cost of petrol‚ at nearly R16 a litre‚ would hurt commuters‚ taxi operators and have a domino effect on the price of goods.

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