Taxi organisations that used a large motorcade to protest through the Pretoria CBD say their aim is to show that their industry is not xenophobic.

A large motorcade of drivers mostly affiliated to the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) passed through the Pretoria CBD as part of their protest against xenophobia, gender-based violence and drug trafficking.

The march follows recent engagements the taxi industry had with the government during in which it was agreed that operators would play their part in taking a public stance against attacks on foreign nationals.

“We have always been chanting the very same sentiments. It’s just that maybe it was just a different approach but our stance has always been no to xenophobia, no to drugs. That has always been going on for years from us as taxi industry, but today because of the criminal element that has been creeping in, you know, denting whatever good thing that we want to put forward as the taxi industry. There were those negative elements that would come in and try to dent our image as the taxi industry. The taxi industry is not xenophobic,” says Tshwane Santaco Spokesperson, McDonald Makata.

Meanwhile, people have mixed views regarding the taxi industry’s march through the Pretoria CBD.

“I was overwhelmed when I saw them. I am here with my family. We are just coming from the office. I had to park and see what is happening and this is what we want. This is what we have been praying for, unity,” says one of the people.

Another observer says, “It’s actually so sad because I have been here for so long like I even speak the language, like the South African language and love this country so much.”