I’ve always battled to understand the real meaning of “An injury to one is an injury to all” until today. Being based at the heart of the market and observing everything that happens there, I saw people roaming around the streets during the day and the evening, I began to understand that if one person suffers everybody else suffers.
Seeing women and children crossing the intersections on their way to work and school and elderly people limping and others on their crutches, it’s a feeling that I can’t describe in words. The alarming part of it all was the moment I saw a bottle of beer flying and it hit a bus, a window smashed and an old woman lifted her hands up begging for mercy. I thought to myself, doesn’t that touch one’s conscience? Oh well what do I know about conscience, does it even still exist in this world of today? I’m still wondering.
From the afternoon throughout the evening, taxi ranks around Durban were packed with people who were stranded without transport since buses were also under attack. Seeing them waiting there with the hope that the rage will pass and everything will be back to normal, but to their surprise they learnt that hope doesn’t kill after all since taxis were nowhere to be found.
As the dusk started kicking in, our brothers from other mothers who are known for mugging, pick pocketing and brutality started making their way to the taxi ranks and bus stops where people were sitting and patiently waiting for any conveyance that might stop by and take them home.
A fair number of people lost their valuables including cell phones, money and other belongings to the thugs. And because I know the feeling of being mugged, I could spare their feelings from a distance.
The fact that when taxi drivers are suffering commuters must also suffer is agitating. The same passengers, who use public transport daily on their way to and fro work, are the same people who get to suffer the most whenever taxi drivers decide to go on a rampage.
Do taxi associations and owners even take to consideration that these are the people who are dependent on them and they are depending on? Does it ever cross their minds that these people who get caught in the middle of their violent commotion are those who keep the taxi industry going?
Not from what we see when they decide not to operate and fight against those who take it upon themselves to serve the community and take people from one point to another. Yes it is understandable that South Africa is popular for protests however as much as the public is aware of the taxi industry frustrations, it is no excuse to put innocent lives at risk by throwing stones at taxis that are operating.
Although people do need transport, Durban taxi associations have failed people, not one but too many times and it has become a norm that each time taxi drivers take it to the streets the commuters get to suffer.
There are certain contradictions around the industry’s actions. As far as this industry is concerned there is mediocrity of some sort and that doesn’t only affect the business but it affects the community as well because some things are just done haphazardly without thinking of the actual impact associated with this lunacy.
I long for the day we will actually see transformation at all aspects of life, perhaps it’s time we all put our heads together and find a possible solid solution to the future.