Human faeces, empty food packages and vehicles blocking their driveways are some of the problems residents in Woodifield Street, Komani central have to endure as a result of taxis flooding that area.
An emotional resident who did not want to be named said the matter has been ongoing for more than 10 years, adding that her frustrated complaints had fallen on deaf ears.
“It is taxis travelling to Cape Town. I have reported this matter to the then mayor, Nozi Makhanda, and also to the current mayor. We are met with rude and unpleasant behaviour every time we try to call these taxi drivers out. I would come back from church and a taxi would be blocking my driveway. The driver would be nowhere near his vehicle and I would have to wait. It is a struggle. Passengers and taxi drivers will go as far as urinate in our yards. I have to get rid of dirty disposable baby nappies every now and again. I bought my house in 1993, but I have no peace. Some residents have since moved because of this situation,” she said in tears.
“That street is known for prostitution, mentally challenged people, robbers and drug dealers. I am a victim of house burglary. There is an open space where these taxis can operate. Something needs to be done because we cannot live like this.”
Another community member, Vuyiswa Fiki, said neighbours fought and blamed each other over litter thrown into their yards by taxi drivers and their passengers. “Government officials pass there all the time. They are aware of what is taking place, but nothing is being done. That street attracts prostitutes and criminals. It has turned into an unsafe environment. This matter needs some serious intervention,” she said.
Komani Uncedo Taxi Association chairman Sandi Mgobo, who was not aware of the complaint, said they would have to organise a meeting with the complainants so they could table all their grievances so that necessary steps could be taken to resolve the matter. “As an association that provides services to people in the community we are willing to listen to their grievances and ensure that all protocol is followed in addressing the matter.” A meeting was scheduled to take place last Friday between residents and taxi association members.
Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality spokesperson Lonwabo Kowa said last month the local authority, together with the taxi association, embarked on a campaign to remove all illegal taxi ranks as the matter had been reported by residents . “Streets were cleared and a number of vehicles impounded. Traffic officials have, on many occasions, removed them. These are mainly taxis from Mthatha and Cacadu (formerly Lady Frere) travelling to Johannesburg who park in the street to avoid adding to the Cathcart Road congestion. This is unfortunately an inconvenience for residents. More work to alleviate this and any other illegal taxi rank will be carried out by the municipality, working with the taxi association,” said Kowa.