A Crackdown On Rattletrap Taxis...Has Drivers Up In Arms

George Maphalala matter-of-factly ticks off the perils of an unregulated taxi industry. The 48-year-old entrepreneur once owned five 16-seat minibuses, the vans that poor South Africans rely on for commuting. Four were stolen. Rivals in a local syndicate ambushed Maphalala six years ago in Soweto, shredding his car with AK-47 rounds. One of his drivers was shot for invading another's turf. Vehicles are sometimes forced off the road when a competitor careens across lanes to reach waiting commuters. "At times it's hard to cope with the pressures," Maphalala says with a shrug.

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