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Transport woes being felt in town
Swartdam Road, in the industrial area, has long been a central point where those in the building industry collect and drop off their labourers or homeowners collect their domestic workers. Last week, however, people were reportedly prevented from doing so by a group of men from the taxi industry, who allegedly accused them of stealing their business. Hermanus Times also received reports that vehicles transporting learners, including the bus transporting learners of Camphill School for Children with Disabilities, in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, were prevented from doing so.A local businessman from Vermont said he was confronted by a group of men wearing orange reflector jackets when he went to pick up his workers in Swartdam Road around 07:10 on Thursday 8 April.“They took photos of me,” said the businessman, who asked to remain anonymous. “When I started taking photos of them they surrounded me and took my phone. When one of their head honchos came along he instructed them to return my phone.”The men allegedly accused him of “stealing their business” by picking up his workers in the area. The man says he found the experience “very unsettling”, as he had been picking his workers up in Zwelihle for approximately 30 years. He has since informed his workers he will no longer be able to collect them.“Now my workers have to come to me,” he said. “This is very unfortunate because they have to either hike or walk 7 km to get to work. We are trying to employ people and keep our businesses afloat in very trying times. This just further complicates life.”Jean-Marie Botha, Camphill School principal, confirmed the bus transporting learners from Zwelihle had been stopped and prevented from collecting learners. “The problem has since been resolved, and we can once again do so,” she said. Petros Dumse of the Overstrand Taxi Association (OTA) said taxi operators decided to take a stand against offenders who transport passengers without having the necessary permits to do so.“This is not a matter of people being threatened, it’s about people not complying with traffic laws,” he said. “We have discussed our grievances with the traffic department but nothing was done. “Now our members are simply doing what the traffic department is not doing, we are ensuring that only those with the necessary permits are allowed to transport people. Taxi operators are merely standing up to protect their businesses.”Dumse urges those who want to become involved in the transport industry to ensure that they comply with the necessary regulations and to join the Overstrand Taxi Association.Warrant Officer Calvin Duncan, spokesperson for Hermanus police, says there have been a number of reports of private vehicles prevented from picking up their workers in Zwelihle.“No charges have been laid,” he stated.Lt Col Muneeb Africa, Hermanus Police head of Visible Policing, reports it was decided at a meeting involving police, Overstrand Law Enforcement and the local traffic and provincial departments that visible static deployments would be held at key points such Yorke Cash and Carry in Swartdam Road, corner of Mbeki and Malva Street and the corner of Schulphoek Road and Mbeki Street.“These are preventative measures to ensure that there are no criminal activities like intimidation,” he stated.“One of the main concerns is that people who do not have the necessary permits are transporting learners. There are, however, exceptions such as the Camphill School, which transports learners by school bus, and workers that are being transported by their employers, who do not make a profit from this.”The Overstrand Traffic Department had not responded to requests for comment by the time of going to print.
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