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Full fleet of Go George buses to hit the roads amid tension

Calm has been restored in George after police made nine arrests and impounded several minibus taxis.

Police detain a taxi driver that resisted being taken in for questioning this morning in Thembalethu, George after drivers argued that a police road block, checking permits and roadworthiness was against their rights to do business. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

CAPE TOWN - A full fleet of Go George buses is expected to take to the roads for the first time since violent protests erupted in the Southern Cape Town.

The bus service was suspended last week after four of its vehicles were torched and six drivers attacked.

Some taxi operators are opposed to the service.

Calm has been restored after the police made nine arrests and impounded several minibuses taxis, whose owners are believed to be linked to the violent protests.

Chaos erupted when some residents and taxi drivers started stoning buses during a test phase of the BRT system on Wednesday.

But legal advisor of George's largest taxi association, Uncedo George Taxi Association said the association is disappointed by the protests and that its members didn't incite violence.

The nine men will appear in the George Magistrate Court today.

At the same time George Mayor Charles Standers, established a multi-party task team in a bid to resolve disputes between the Taxi Association and the local bus transport service.

During a Special Council sitting on Friday, the group was setup to review the situation following violent protests in Thembalethu last week, in which four buses were torched and six bus drivers attacked.

The task team is expected to present its recommendations during a special council meeting this week.

Western Cape Transport Department spokesperson Byron la Hoe said 14 operators are being probed at the moment.

"The entity has received information from the police linking certain vehicles owned by the members of the association to a protest action during which the roads were barricaded, buses set alight and CCTV cameras in police vehicles were damaged."

La Hoe added that the provincial regulatory entity will hold a hearings next month.

"Camera and video footage is currently being scrutinised to establish vehicle registration numbers and to identify offending operators. If found guilty of violating certain provisions of the code of conduct, the association may either be suspended or deregistered."

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