JMPD unfazed by strike threat as Nomakanjani nets more today.

Maybe he believed Metro police spokesman Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar who said yesterday Joburg’s big blitz on taxi drivers and other motorists had been suspended.

But waiting for him when he skipped a red robot in Joburg’s CBD this morning was the commander of the blitz Superintendent Jack Mabaso and his team.

As far as he was concerned Operation Nomakanjani and was going on until he received a directive from acting JMPD boss David Tembe.

And so an officer quickly jumped in front of this driver’s taxi as he tried to flee.

Officers then pulled him out and he was arrested.

He pleaded with officers to forgive him. “No, no, baba, you have skipped the red robot,” they said.

Yesterday Minnar said that they had stopped the operaton after deciding to talk with taxi operators.

But by 10am today when the blitz ended, 39 motorists, including taxi drivers, had been arrested.

Taxi operators, under the auspices of United Taxi Association Forum, later gathered at Mary Fitzgerald Square, waiting for JMPD officials to speak to them.

The operators insisted that they wanted Operation Nomakanjani suspended as it was targeting only their members.

“We have been waiting here since early this morning. We want Director Tembe to speak to us about the operation,” said the forum’s spokesman Joe Moputhing.

He said taxi drivers were concerned at the perceived harassment, including manhandling of drivers during the operation.

He added that if Tembe didn’t meet them, the association would let their drivers do as they wish.

Last week the drivers threatened to embark on a strike unless the operation was called off.

This morning when The Star arrived at the corner of Bree and Claim streets before 7am, Mabaso was giving instructions to his team.
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“We are going to continue to arrest reckless and negligent drivers,” warned the defiant Mabaso, adding that that while the drivers had a right to strike, they don’t have a right to blockade public roads.

Mabaso said motorists not obeying rules of the road would be arrested.

He added that he was more concerned about people’s lives than the complaints about the operation. “We are enforcing the law,” he said.

Another motorist who was taught a lesson after he tried to escape.

He kicked and pushed with all his might but a group of officers pinned him to the ground and eventually handcuffed him.

Minnaar yesterday said they decided to talk with taxi operators because “issues between the two parties cause frustration, which may lead to unnecessary conflict”.

He said a meeting had been scheduled for July 8 to resolve their differences.

Minnaar said unroadworthy vehicles would either be impounded or the driver would be issued with a notice for it not be used until it was fixed.

Minnaar’s colleague, Edna Mamonyane yesterday said the decision was meant only to give the taxi operators a “fair hearing” about their grievances.

“We are confident that Operation Nomakanjani would be back in operation … I know that we will be back,” Mamonyane said.

More than 2 000 motorists, mostly taxi drivers, have been arrested and fined, while their vehicles were impounded, since the operation was introduced on March 9.

She warned that suspending the operation did not mean the police were giving in to taxi operators’ demands.

“It’s not that we are scared of them… and that they are getting their way.

“We want to hear what it is they can offer as an alternative to our initiatives to enforce by-laws. Maybe they will start changing their driving behaviour,” she said.

Mamonyane said Operation Nomakanjani had received support from residents and even some taxi operators, but the decision to suspend the operation was taken to ensure commuters were not inconvenienced.