An uneasy calm as solution to Cape taxi violence remains elusive
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Cape Town - It was still not yet clear on Tuesday when the rival taxi associations would allow their minibus taxis to operate in some parts of the Cape Town metropole.
The two associations, Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata) and the Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations (Codeta) suspended their services three weeks ago, during the peak of the taxi violence which left more than 20 people killed this month.
Cata spokesperson Andile Seyamo said they did not know when their taxis would operate, while Codeta spokesperson Andile Khanyi said they had not concluded the decision on the resumption of operations.
Transport and Public Works MEC Daylin Mitchell said yesterday was the second day that the B97 minibus taxi route between Mbekweni and Bellville had been closed.
Mitchell said it would remain closed for two months in accordance Section 91 of the National Land Transport Act. The decision was taken after concerted efforts to stop violence between operators on the route, affiliated to Cata and Codeta, failed.
During yesterday's briefing by Premier Alan Winde, Mitchell, provincial police commissioner Thembisile Patekile, Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz, on the Western Cape’s response to ongoing taxi violence, it was announced that the arbitration proceedings between the relevant taxi associations restarted yesterday, as part of the now legal process to resolve the dispute over routes.
It was also announced that the notice for formal proceedings had been sent to the relevant associations following the initiation of a process to sanction or suspend them.
Mitchell said the process was initiated on July 7 and the hearings are expected to begin on August 4.
Winde said they remained fully committed to finding a lasting solution to the impasse, using every power available.
“We will also continue to work with our counterparts across all levels of government to ensure that violence is prevented,” said Winde.
Patekile said five taxis were impounded by the integrated forces on the closed B97 route for either operating without permit or contravening permit stipulations.
He said fines ranging from R2500 to R7000 were imposed on the drivers.
“After physical assessment of the situation at transport hubs in Mbekweni, Bellville, Khayelitsha and Nyanga on Monday, coupled with latest situational reports on Tuesday from all identified hotspots within the province, the situation remains relatively calm.
“No incidents have been reported to the police. However, the integrated deployments are still in place and remain on high alert,” said Patekile.
Over the past two days, UDM leader Bantu Holomisa and SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi met fighting taxi associations to help broker an agreement.
Their combined statement said one of the long-term solutions recommended was that the government must avoid creating conflict by issuing operating licences for the same route to different taxi associations.