Taxi violence has some CT operators fearing for their lives

Taxi driver Rodney Kruger has been a driver for 22 years, but lately, his work has him wondering every day whether he'll make it home alive.

Cape Town taxi driver Rodney Kruger. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/Eyewitness News

CAPE TOWN - As of Monday, the taxi route at the centre of a bloody conflict in the Cape metro will be closed for two months.

Route 97 runs between Bellville and Paarl and it's the main cause of conflict between Cata and Codeta, with both associations claiming the right to operate on the route.

So far this year, at least 83 people have been killed in taxi-related violence across the province and this month in particular, the violence has escalated.

READ MORE: WC Transport MEC shuts major CT taxi route over violence

It was just before 7am and driver Rodney Kruger was on the road with a few passengers in his van on Govan Mbeki Road. He was driving in a danger zone, well-known for taxi violence and extortion. Kruger heard conversations about shootings and was even more alert.

He's been a driver for 22 years, but lately, his work has him wondering every day whether he'll make it home alive.

“Your life is all day in danger, you don't know who's who, you don't know the taxi owner and the people who stand amongst passengers. I even jumped a red robot, due to the danger,” the driver said.

He said that the violence had gotten worse and the vast majority of drivers just wanted to feed their families, but now they had to constantly worry while working.

“Your eyes roll around every three seconds, watch your mirrors. So as you are driving, you must check everything,” he said.

Government has taken action, closing one of the routes that has been at the centre of the conflict. They're hoping the closure will buy them enough time to negotiate a proper deal and end the bloodshed.

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