Taxi men attack civilian driver
Two cases of assault were opened following an alleged attack involving a taxi owner and some taxi drivers.
This happened after the occupants of a private vehicle were reportedly attacked by taxi men in Uniondale Road, Nekkies.
Babalwa Ndibongo says she and two friends in their own vehicle were attacked by taxi drivers after a night out on Sunday 18 March, allegedly for what the taxi drivers thought was reckless driving.
‘Pillars of the community’
“I have always known taxi drivers to be pillars of our communities, law enforcers where police or the justice system fails us… Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would suffer at their same hands.”
She says the men stopped their vehicle, kicked open the windows of their car and assaulted them. “One of my friends escaped and ran, one who was the driver was assaulted and his car is in ruins, they pulled my hair and as I was getting out of the car, one of them even kicked my face.”
Charges of assault laid
Ndibongo says after the incident, she and the driver Sakhekile Makinana went to the police station to open a case and then later went to the taxi rank to report the matter.
“The organisation listened to our grievances and told us they don’t handle cases or incidents that have been reported to the police – either they deal with the case or allow the justice system to take its course. They promised to fix Makinana’s car if he dropped the case, and to ‘deal’ with the perpetrators.”
She says he has since dropped the charges and she also wanted to forget about it all – until she heard some of the drivers boasting about the incident. Her case of assault stands at the police station, for investigation.
Taxi owner ‘tried to stop’ them
“I don’t remember all the people who were there but I do remember seeing one of the owners, Mandla Tyololo, even though he claims that he tried to stop the other guys from attacking us. It should never be okay for people to randomly attack people.”
When reached for comment, Makinana confirmed the incident on the said date and that he had dropped the case, but he refused to give more information.
Knysna-Plett Herald met with Uncedo Taxi Association chair Ernest Petros and other taxi rank stakeholders (Knysna Taxi Association and Garden Route Taxi Association) on Thursday 29 March.
Tyololo, who was also in the meeting, would not engage on the matter and merely said, “I reserve all rights to comment on the matter.”
Thanduxolo Wyn, who is a transport officer at the taxi rank, confirmed that they as a taxi rank committee had sat down with the complainants and reached the decision to help them if they dropped the charges. “If they are not happy with our decision, then there is nothing more we can do for them.”
Sakhekile Makinana after the alleged attack.