Delft may be declared high-risk area for public transport

Cape Town – Western Cape transport MEC Donald Grant intends declaring Delft in Cape Town a high-risk area for public transport following recent minibus taxi violence.

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He said in a statement on Thursday that he would place a notice of intention in the Government Gazette.

The declaration would allow the provincial regulatory entity to suspend operating licences, close certain ranks and suspend operations by taxis on identified routes.

"In order to avert such drastic measures my department has in the meantime appointed a group of seasoned, independent mediators to bring all parties involved in the conflict in Delft to the table, and to get them to cease hostilities and work towards a peaceful resolution."

At least two taxi drivers were shot dead in separate incidents in the area last week.

A driver was also arrested at the Cape Town station deck last week after allegedly stabbing another driver in the buttock.

Strong police presence

The stabbed driver’s tyres were also apparently slashed.

The City believes the incident stemmed from rivalry between the Delft and Nyanga taxi associations.

On Thursday morning, Western Cape police said there was no record of any shootings in the area.

This after alarmist messages about the shooting of a taxi driver on Jakes Gerwel Drive and the possibility of a violent taxi war were circulated on social media.

"Currently a strong police presence is in the area monitoring the situation. We will continue until normality has been restored," said police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk.

"We urge both the commuters and taxi operators to co-operate with the police, as our objective is to ensure safety for all."

'Keeping a very close eye'

Photos of three Golden Arrow buses burning in Delft were also being circulated.

Golden Arrow spokesperson Bronwen Dyke-Beyer confirmed they were old photos.

She said a bus driver was injured on Wednesday after his vehicle was stoned.

The company diverted operations from the terminus to Borcherds Quarry on Wednesday.

On Thursday, they were operating from Terminus Road and diverting through the "problem area" in Delft.

"We are keeping a very close eye on things," she said.

Grant thanked the police for the increased deployment of officers in the area and swift arrests for criminal activity.

He also thanked traffic authorities and police for impounding close to 50 taxis for illegal operations in Delft and at the Cape Town station deck.