HomeTop StoriesFive killed in violent taxi strike in Cape Town

Five killed in violent taxi strike in Cape Town

Residents of Masiphumelele set up burning barricades during an ongoing strike by taxi companies against traffic authorities in Cape Town, South Africa, August 8, 2023

Five people have been killed in violent protests linked to a taxi strike in Cape Town, South Africa, officials say.

The victims include a 40-year-old Briton and a police officer, Police Minister Bheki Cele said.

The week-long strike was called in response to what drivers said were “heavy-handed tactics” by law enforcement agencies.

The taxi drivers and owners said their vehicles were targeted and impounded for minor offences.

Violations included failure to wear a seatbelt and driving illegally on the hard shoulder, drivers said. They claimed that others who did the same were only fined.

Minibus taxi companies across Cape Town also expressed frustration with the government confiscating taxis they claimed were not roadworthy.

On Tuesday, South Africa’s Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga ordered the immediate release of the minibus taxis seized by the city of Cape Town.

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Ms Chikunga said the legislation used by the city was “improperly executed and implemented” and added that “it doesn’t exist” under the current laws.

South Africa’s police ministry said 120 people had been arrested since the strikes began on August 3 and they were aware of looting, stone-throwing and arson.

On Tuesday, residents of the municipality of Masiphumelele erected barricades to prevent other residents from leaving. Many of those barricades were set on fire.

Police Minister Bheki Cele called for cooperation between the Cape Town government and taxi companies in a speech to the press on Tuesday. He said that among the victims of the strike were children who could no longer go to school.

“People need to swallow their pride, come together and solve this problem,” he said.

The UK has issued a travel warning after the strike was identified as a major security threat to tourists visiting South Africa.

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