R15-million Lehae taxi rank destroyed by vandals

The rank was left abandoned because of conflict between taxi operators

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One of the vandalised toilets at Lehae taxi rank in south Johannesburg. Photos: Chris Gilili

The City of Johannesburg spent R15.6-million on the Lehae taxi rank in south Johannesburg. But the taxi rank, and its stalls for informal traders and guard house, have been wrecked by vandals. The toilets and urinals have been smashed, the lights are broken, zinc roofing has been stolen, and the shelters built for traders badly vandalised.

“It was a beautiful rank and very impressive. As the community we were happy that we now had a rank right at the centre of our township,” said Bongani Dhlomo, a Lehae resident.

But, he said, the rank operated only briefly.

“A fight between taxi owners forced it to close,” said Dhlomo. “After that, it just was ignored and has been getting ruined.”

“We used to guard it, but people lost heart because they were risking their lives, yet not paid for that work. It was just a community effort and nothing from the City of Joburg,” said Dhlomo.

Ward 122 Councillor Sthembiso Zungu (ANC) said, “Even if they can fix the rank, it will remain vacant … All the taxi associations – Faraday, Eldorado and Ennerdale – are fighting for it … This is a serious challenge that wants an intervention from the top.”

Monare Kgapula, a long time resident, said, “It’s a problem if the City develops these structures but fails to take care of them.”

People dump rubbish at the site and residents arrange periodic clean ups.

Nomonde Mbhele complained that she now has to get up at 5am to walk more than half an hour to the main road to get a taxi when there is a taxi rank right nearby standing unused.

Residents also say the abandoned rank is a criminal and and drug den.

“We need something to be done,” said Mbhele.

City of Johannesburg spokesperson Nthatisi Modingoane said the provincial transport department is currently busy with conflict resolution between the taxi operators.

“There was insourced security from Johannesburg Metro Police Department when the facility was completed. However it was brazenly vandalised whilst security was on site,” said Modingoane.

The Lehae taxi rank is unused because of fighting between taxi associations.

TOPICS:  Transport

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