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STATEMENT BY THE CITY’S MAYORAL COMMITTEE MEMBER: TRANSPORT FOR CAPE TOWN, COUNCILLOR BRETT HERRON

The City of Cape Town condemns in the strongest possible terms the violent protest by illegal minibus-taxi operators and the damage caused to City property in the early hours of this morning, 15 March 2016. Read more below:

A group of illegal minibus-taxi operators attacked the MyCiTi Phoenix station in Omuramba Road this morning at about 02:00. They placed burning tyres in front of the station entrance, causing damage to the station roller shutter doors and the front entrance. Furthermore, the cash office window was cracked, the lights under the canopy damaged, and the entrance canopy sheets damaged.No personnel or commuters were present at the time of the attack.

Furthermore, a MyCiTi bus operating along Route 251 (Century City, Montague Gardens) was stoned in Montague Drive at around 09:30 this morning, 15 March 2016. Thankfully, nobody was injured.

There is absolutely no excuse for this criminal behaviour.

The City will assist in whatever way we can to identify the perpetrators. A criminal case has been opened and the local police station in Milnerton is investigating these incidents. I am confident that those responsible will be apprehended in due course.

The extent of the damage to the station is still being assessed and the costs will be determined in due course.

The Phoenix station will be closed for at least two to three weeks. This is a huge inconvenience to the approximately 1 200 commuters who make use of this station on a daily basis.

Since this morning the buses operating along Route T04 from Dunoon to Century City have been deviated along Racecourse Road, into Koeberg Road, onto Bosmansdam Road and into Ratanga Road, avoiding the area until it is safe to operate along the normal route again.

Law Enforcement will continue to be present in the area to ensure the safety of the MyCiTi drivers and the commuters.

Once the situation has returned to normal, commuters will be able to board and alight the MyCiTi buses next to the Phoenix station while the repairs are being done to the station building.

I want to reiterate that the violent protest and criminal behaviour were not conducted by the legal minibus-taxi operators, but by a group who are illegally operating within the Joe Slovo area. To the City’s knowledge they are not in possession of legal operating licences. They are therefore not allowed to transport passengers and the City is acting within its rights to impound their vehicles and to issue them with fines for operating an illegal transport service.

Over the past eight years, the City has held continual and regular meetings with the leadership of the taxi associations who are affected by the roll-out of new MyCiTi routes.

More recently, we have had meetings with the affected taxi association executives in the Joe Slovo area, and we have hosted information sessions with all of the members. We are heartened by the progress made thus far and the cooperation of our partners in the minibus-taxi industry in this area.

We will not allow a group of criminals to threaten the safety of our personnel and commuters, nor will we allow them to derail the future roll-out of MyCiTi routes across the city.

Anarchy, violence and the destruction of City property is unacceptable. We will not tolerate this behaviour.

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