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Man dies in Nyanga protest

11 Golden Arrow buses were torched and drivers assaulted during protests in Nyanga today.

The remains of Golden Arrow buses at the Nyanga bus terminus which were burnt on 1 September, 2014 during protests. Picture: Carmel Loggenberg/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Golden Arrow says 11 of its bus drivers were assaulted during an early morning service delivery protest in the Nyanga township.

Eleven buses were also torched or stoned during the demonstration and several roads closed to traffic.

This morning's violence claimed at least one life. Police cordoned off an area behind the Nyanga taxi rank, where the body of a man was discovered.

The body has been covered with a white sheet while police continue to patrol the area.

Some locals have told Eyewitness News the deceased is a taxi driver but this has not yet been confirmed.

There is no clear indication what the cause of the protest is at this stage but the Golden Arrow bus service's Bronwen Dyke says they won't be operating in the area due to safety concerns.

"We can't operate in Nyanga because we can't ensure the safety of our passengers and drivers. So we will be operating from outside. Passengers can make their way to the corners of the N2 Highway and Borchards Quarry Road and also the Manenberg police station."

While residents claim the protest is the work of the taxi industry, the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) says it can't confirm whether any of its drivers are involved.

Santaco's Sipho Masethi says, "First of all, fines have been increased. As I was speaking to them, fines have been increased and the impoundment of those - including the warrant system that was being used - is totally unacceptable with them."

Mayoral Committee Member for safety and security JP Smith meanwhile says there's no clear indication of the reason for this morning's violent protests.

"We've had completely divergent excuses given for the violence, ranging from complaints by taxi drivers against taxi owners, to blaming the start-up of the My Citi, to complaining about the increase of the traffic fines. It doesn't look like there's a central motivation for it."

Smith says officials have been given various reasons for this morning's unrest including a dispute between taxi drivers and operators, as well as a drastic increase in traffic fines.

The protesting taxi drivers say they cannot afford the new traffic fine increases.

A taxi driver told EWN he cannot afford the hefty fines which have tripled since August.

"I don't have enough to pay R11,000 on one ticket because we don't even make a R1,000. If we are lucky, we make R500 so how can I pay that?"