Protesters support vigilante taxi drivers outside KwaNobuhle court

Five “jikeleza” drivers charged with attempted murder

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Over 100 people demonstrated at the KwaNobuhle Magistrates Court outside Kariega (Uitenhage) on Monday afternoon in support of informal taxi drivers charged with attempted murder. Photo: Thamsanqa Mbovane

On Monday afternoon more than 100 people demonstrated outside the KwaNobuhle Magistrates’ Court in support of five informal taxi (jikeleza) drivers charged with attempted murder. They held up placards that read: “We are tired of hijackings” and “No more crime in our society”.

Protesters on busy Ponana Tini Road stopped other passing jikeleza drivers, inviting them to join the protest. They sang, “Amaphara azakunya” (Criminals will face the music), “Zizojik’ izinto (The tables will turn), and “Thina silwela amalungelo ethu” (We are fighting for our rights).

National Prosecuting Authority regional spokesperson Luxolo Tyali said the drivers had assaulted two men after a car was stolen. “At this stage, we are only prosecuting for attempted murder. Charges are kidnapping, attempted murder and assault,” saidTyali.

Protester Nokuzola Mbewu, from ward 42 in KwaNobuhle, said: “When it’s time to get SASSA grants, the elderly citizens are always victims. The criminals are often loitering outside spaza shops and end up robbing the elderly people.”

“All we want to know is why are thieves not being arrested, but always those who beat them up are arrested?”

Newman “Rider” Simakuhle, leader of KwaNobuhle Jikeleza Association, which has 250 members, said their members are frequent victims of hijackings and robbery.

He said criminals posing as passengers often made off with cellphones and wallets of drivers and other passengers.

“We want the whole of South Africa to know that people who defend themselves are getting arrested and not the ones who rob us,” said Simakuhle.

Police spokesperson Colonel Priscilla Naidu said Public Order Police were at the court but there were no incidents.

Many of the protesters, which included jikeleza owners and drivers and their passengers, were given a free ride to the demonstration and a free ride home (normal price is R15 one way).

The accused were granted bail of R500 each. They will appear again in court on 25 October.

TOPICS:  Crime Transport

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