Durban metro police have been instructed not to fine or stop taxi drivers after last week's violent strike, The Mercury reported on Tuesday.
The paper spoke to five officers on condition of anonymity, who said the instruction came from police deputy head Steve Middleton and metro police head Eugene Nzama on Monday morning via their two-way radios.
On Thursday, Durban taxi drivers protested, claiming the metro police were targeting them when issuing traffic fines.
About 60 taxi drivers were arrested for public violence. Forty-six appeared in the Durban Magistrate's Court on Monday and were released on R1500 bail each. The rest were released without being charged.
The Mercury reported that on Sunday KwaZulu-Natal Transport Alliance chairperson Eugene Hadebe threatened that taxi owners would "deal with" any metro officers seen "harassing" taxi drivers.
Metro police spokesperson Eugene Msomi denied that officers were instructed to go easy on taxi drivers, but told The Mercury that officers had been advised to exercise caution.
The eThekwini municipality is owed R1.3-billion in unpaid fines from taxi drivers and other motorists.