Taxi drivers take revenge on protesters

Shacks set alight after a taxi was stoned during protests in the Delft area, Cape Town

By Nombulelo Damba-Hendrik

26 March 2021

Photo of a burning shack

This shack was set alight by angry taxi drivers on Thursday after a taxi was stoned in Delft, Cape Town, during protests. Photo: Nombulelo Damba-Hendrik

At least two shacks were set alight and a man was injured after taxi drivers pursued protesters in Delft, Cape Town, on Thursday. Taxi drivers also threw stones at shack windows.

This came after a taxi transporting people was apparently stoned in the area during protests for basic services and a stop to evictions.

A taxi driver told GroundUp the vehicle belonged to the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (CATA) and it was transporting people from Nyanga. However, Victor Wiwi of CATA said no such incident was reported to it.

Residents from the recently established Winnie Mandela informal settlement had blocked Delft’s main road, Symphony Way and the N2 near Robert Sobukwe with rocks and burning tyres on Thursday

Police used rubber bullets to disperse the protesters, who would repeatedly run into the informal settlement to regroup.

GroundUp saw a group of about 15 men carrying stones and sticks chase after the protesters in the informal settlement.

The men were the taxi drivers from the Nyanga taxi rank (which falls under CATA) and the Khayelitsha rank (which falls under CODETA – the Congress for Democratic Taxi Association).

They beat a man, who managed to get away. His shack was stoned. Some of the men went after him and apparently set fire to a shack later.

The remaining men went searching through the settlement, asking women where their husbands were and asking for one individual by name who they said was the protest leader and responsible for stoning the taxi.

Directed to his shack, they kicked in the door and torched it. The man was not home.

Chief Mtati of CODETA said no taxi stoning incident was reported to it either. “We do not have a problem with the protest but the way it is done is wrong and it also affects us. Our private cars have been stoned and when we take action they are not going to like it,” said Mtati.

Ward 20 PR Councillor Nondumiso Sono (ANC) said no decision has been taken by the City to evict the Winnie Mandela shack dwellers. Sono said schools were closed by protesters and learners were forced to return home.

Since Monday, there have been numerous protests in Cape Town for basic services, held under the banner of Intlungu yaseMatyotyombeni Movement (meaning the pain of living in shacks).

Western Cape Minister of Community Safety Albert Fritz said one person was hit by a car and killed, and four officers were injured in violent protests on Wednesday.

Fritz said protests had affected communities in Khayelitsha, Belhar, Kuilsriver and Kraaifontein. He said the protests jeopardise service delivery.