#111. Come to the realisation that Joburg’s minibus taxi drivers — reviled by many; the stuff of radio talkshows, and endless letters to newspapers; and the bane of government transport agencies and of drivers who believe those white lines on the road and the yellow ones are more than just a work of art — are not always to blame for their actions.
It’s true, if you believe everything you read in the newspapers. A story in The Star today by Louise Flanagan told of how “Angry taxi passengers helped their driver evade arrest after he jumped a red light in Joburg rush-hour traffic … – then demanded that police drive them home because the driver had fled with their money.”
The taxi was allegedly heading south through the city to Soweto when the driver went through the red traffic lights at the intersection of Bree and Loveday Streets. He didn’t however count on Sergeant Jack Mabaso seeing him do it. “Mabaso is the commander of the Joburg Metro Police Operation Nomakanjani (“No matter what”), which targets reckless motorists.”
He stopped the taxi and the 16 passengers then tried to stop him making an arrest. The story says they were keen to get home. After all, its winter, its cold out there, it was late in the afternoon and Generations and the Bold and the Beautiful wait for no one [My version]. The passengers resorted to their own Operation Nomakanjani. “No matter what” they were intent on getting home.
“When passengers realised Mabaso was going to drive the taxi to the police pound to impound it, they were even angrier. The passengers wanted to force me to take them to Meadowlands,” said Mabaso. He offered to drop them off at the nearby taxi rank, but they said they couldn’t afford to pay another driver.”
The standoff ended with the commuters finally taking another taxi and Mabaso vowing that “The operation will continue up until they stop.”
To Sergeant Mabaso I say: “Aluta continua”, “I am on your side” and “No matter what, I hope you are a patient man because this could take a while”.