View Full Version : Strange: South Africa's Taxi Wars...

William R.
09-17-2006, 05:32 AM
This would make a crazy movie. Has it been? Even a documentary, the subject is almost screaming to be covered as such...

In the last two decades, thousands of South African taxi owners, drivers and passengers have been killed and many more have been wounded in one of the strangest guerrilla wars to bedevil any nation. The combatants are rival cartels that control thousands of low-cost minibuses, or “combis,” that haul a large share of South Africa’s urban commuters and much of the nation’s intercity traffic. Combi drivers are mostly poor, and competition is fierce. Many operate illegally, and even legitimate ones may poach others’ routes to grab as many fares as possible.

Click for full article (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/17/world/africa/17africa.html?hp&ex=1158552000&en=42130606a2568d1e&ei=5094&partner=homepage)

Christoffer S
09-17-2006, 07:06 AM
Not strange.
Its just natural competition. Survival of the fittest.

Mike T
09-17-2006, 07:43 AM
Can't say I find it all that strange either. Sans the killings, exactly the same thing goes on in Malaysia -- legit taxis and mini-buses compete neck and neck with illegitimate services. And none too surprisingly, the non-legit services usually prove more efficient and cost-effective than their legal counterparts! First time I set foot in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (a place I am determined NEVER to set foot in again), I was witness to police and airport security swooping on a vast array of illegal cabs who were muscling their way in amongst the legit ones for passengers; and Malaysian security carry machine-guns, so you don't mess with them.

I'd say this kind of thing would probably be pretty commonplace in developing countries. After all, they don't have welfare, government health cover and any other number of luxuries and benefits we first-world folk take for granted, so running illegal public transport rackets seems a less-shady way to pay the bills and keep your family clothed and fed than the alternatives. ;)

William R.
09-17-2006, 07:54 AM
Illegal taxis are common. We got 'em in Brasil, all over South America as well. The thing that intrigues me is the cartel aspect of the situation, the slaughtering of the competition so to speak and the fact that this has been going on for well over two decades and the body count is piling up. In contrast to the forward, or seemingly in this case, devolopement of the nation. A large outbreak of violence had been linked to a route that passed a new commercial district/shopping mall. One step forward, two steps back. I think it'd be very interesting to see how much the violence springboarded following the end of Apartheid.

Strange was probably the wrong choice of word to use, but I just saw the article after reading about Matt Damon. :D