HAWKERS and small business owners in the Mthatha CBD have been affected by the taxi violence that has led to the closure of some routes by Police Minister Bheki Cele.
The routes have been closed since last month.
On Friday, chaos broke out when entry to the town was blocked with burning tyres.
A shop owner said: “Some men were burning tyres on the street and cops were called to the scene.
“I then smelt teargas and immediately ran into my shop.”
The two taxi association’s presidents, Vuyani Mshiywa of Border Alliance Taxi Association and Ntsikelelo Gaelher of Uncedo Service Taxi Association, denied reports that taxi drivers burnt the tyres.
Hawker Thembeka Gawulekhaya (50) said business was bad since the routes were closed.
“Before the taxis were banned, I often made more than R500 a day.
“But now my business is suffering because people don’t come to town.
“This is affecting us badly because we depend on customers to make money,” said Thembeka.
“We pray that the violence will soon end so that we can continue to make a living for our families.”
Eastern Cape Safety MEC Weziwe Tikana said taxi operations would remain suspended until an agreement to bring peace had been reached by all parties.
“We are assessing the situation and if the need arises, we will send more law enforcement officers.
“We will not hesitate to arrest and let the law deal with those who are perpetrators of these criminal tendencies,” said Tikana.
Police spokesman Captain Khaya Tonjeni said no arrests were made on Friday.
“But 18 taxis were impounded for non-compliance with the rules of the road,” Tonjeni told the People’s Paper.