Four Golden Arrow buses were torched on Thursday morning in Nyanga.

  • A crackdown by the City of Cape Town against taxi operators known as ‘omafela’ sparked violence in Nyanga.
  • Pthe police investigate cases of public violence and intentional damage to property.
  • MMC for Safety and Security JP Smith said the law should apply equally to everyone in the city.

The Cape Town government on Thursday seized 21 illegal sedan taxis in Nyanga, including 19 known as ‘omafelas’, as part of a massive crackdown on illegal taxis.

According to city officials, the vehicles, 19 “amafels” and two minibuses, were impounded under the National Land Transport Act, allegedly for operating without valid permits or in violation of conditions set out in their permits.

The operation sparked violence when angry taxi drivers set fire to four Golden Arrow buses and one City car.


Four Golden Arrow buses were torched on Thursday morning in Nyanga.

“The last such incident was recorded in March this year, and a little over a year ago we witnessed similar violence in Nyango district. This level of lawlessness is unacceptable, and we will not be stopped by it,” he said.

Smith added that the law should apply equally to everyone in the city.

MMC for Urban Mobility Rob Quintas said he was told the Road Infrastructure Management Unit was under fire on the way to Heideveld to provide essential services.

“I strongly condemn this act. Not only does it disrupt service delivery, but it also jeopardizes the safety of our staff and deprives our residents of their basic right to service.

He said:

Every time a vehicle is on fire, service delivery is delayed and our residents are forced to do without services such as road repairs and unblocking of storm drains, among others. This is due to the lack of funds and motor transport.

Quintos added that city employees who live in these communities fear for their lives and must undergo counseling before returning to work.

“This is a criminal act and it cannot be allowed to continue. The area is now a no-go zone due to violent crime; therefore, no services are provided.

“I urge the people of Nyango to support our efforts in providing services that will greatly benefit them,” he added.

Police maintained a heavy presence throughout Thursday to quell any violence.

Police spokesman Warrant Officer Joseph Swartbuie said the incidents were under investigation.

“The suspects are yet to be identified and arrested. Nyanga police are investigating incidents of public violence and malicious damage to property,” he said.

Meanwhile, Golden Arrow said three of its buses were hit by petrol bombs and another was set on fire. As a result of the protest, “Golden Arrow” stopped serving.

Golden Arrow spokeswoman Bronwen Dyke-Beyer said: “The information available to us at this time appears to link this to a traffic operation that took place earlier today in the area where a number of taxis were stopped. This brazen violence is unacceptable and we call on the authorities to fulfill their mandate to ensure the safety of our drivers and passengers.”

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