Durban – Chairperson of the Ntuzuma Taxi Association, Velaphi Gumede, has apologised for the violent behaviour displayed allegedly by his one of his taxi drivers.
So irate is the taxi owner, that he plans to fire the driver as soon as possible if indeed he is the one captured on camera violently beating a woman in a taxi in KwaZulu-Natal.
“I can confirm that the registration is my taxi. It is a long distance taxi that travels from the Berea to the Eastern Cape.”
It won’t happen again
He said he was in Johannesburg when he received calls from friends on Wednesday informing him about a video on Facebook which showed one of his drivers violently beating a woman outside a parking lot.
“I am going to meet with… [the driver] later today, he has been working with me for more than five years and this is the first time I have ever heard of such an incident. I would like to apologise to the public for the behaviour displayed by my driver… He should have not done this at home or at work,” Gumede said.
“If he does admit that it was him, we are going to part ways because it is my name that is on the taxi. Our taxis have LV initials on them and that is my reputation, I do not want to be associated with violence.”
Gumede said he did not want to frighten commuters and promised that he would make sure that the incident does not happen again.
The minute-long video, which has been posted on the Crime Intelligence & Community Awareness Facebook page shows a man and a woman outside a parked taxi.
The woman appears to be struggling to get out of the taxi as the man blocks the door using his arms. The man then violently strikes the woman on the back of her head and she falls to the bottom of the taxi in a sitting position. She almost escapes by running away from the man but the man grabs her by her clothes and violently shoves her back into the first row of the taxi.
She tries to fight back but the man pushes her feet into the vehicle before shutting the door.
The person shooting the video tried to capture the number plate, which has a Durban registration number.
Facebook user Mbusi Nzama commented on the social network that the taxi belonged to a LV Gumede, who is the chairperson of the Ntuzuma Taxi Association.
Taxi association condemns attack
The South African taxi industry has condemned the brutal attack.
Provincial deputy chairman of the South African National Taxi Coalition Bheki Mbambo said he had not seen the video, but he condemned the incident.
“To hear that a taxi driver has done that is embarrassing, it is disgusting that he has beaten a woman, not that we are saying men must be beaten [as well],” Mbambo said.
“He is not a man, he is an animal.”
Violence must not be tolerated
SA National Taxi Council chairperson of Durban northern region, Sifiso Mthethwa, said he too had not seen the video, and any violence committed against commuters, male or female, must not be tolerated.
“Any abuse against commuters is wrong. All we want from commuters is their money, nothing else.”
Mthethwa said if drivers felt aggrieved about the actions of commuters, they still did not have a right to lay a hand on them.
“It does not matter what commuters say to you, if you are not happy, rather report them to police because you also have rights instead of painting the public transport industry in a bad light.”