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Five People Killed in Cape Town Taxi Strike Violence

Five people have died in violent protests relating to a taxi strike in Cape Town, South Africa, officials say.

The victims include a 40-year-old British national whose family is being supported by the UK Foreign Office.

The week-long strike was called in response to what drivers said was “heavy-handed tactics” by law enforcement authorities.

The taxi drivers and owners said their vehicles were being targeted and impounded for minor offences.

Infringements included not wearing a seatbelt and illegally driving in the emergency lane, drivers said. They claimed others doing the same only faced fines.

Minibus taxi operators across Cape Town also aired frustrations that the government was impounding taxis they claimed were not roadworthy.

On Tuesday, South Africa’s transport minister Sindisiwe Chikunga ordered the immediate release of the minibus taxis impounded by the City of Cape Town.

Ms Chikunga said the legislation used by the city had been “executed and implemented wrongly” and added that “it doesn’t exist” under current laws.

The South African Ministry of Police said 120 people had been arrested since the strikes began on 3 August and they were aware of incidents of looting, stone throwing and arson.

Police Minister Bheki Cele also confirmed a police officer was among those who died.

On Tuesday, residents in the Masiphumelele township set up barricades, preventing other residents from leaving. Many of those barricades were set alight.

Speaking to the press on Tuesday, Mr Cele called for co-operation between the Cape Town government and taxi operators. He said those affected by the strike included children who could no longer get to school.

“People must swallow their pride, come together and resolve this issue”, he said.

The UK has issued a travel warning after the strike was listed as a high security threat for tourists visiting South Africa.

Source : BBC