Johannesburg – The Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport has condemned the Nancefield-Dube West Taxi Association’s (Nanduwe’s) blockading of Simmonds Street in central Johannesburg on Tuesday over a route dispute.

At least eight major streets were closed down when taxi drivers parked about 100 taxis outside the Department of Roads and Transport office at the corner of Simmons and Pritchard streets, while officers from the Metro and SA Police Service monitored the situation.

Johannesburg metro police confirmed that no formal application had been made for the protest action.

Nanduwe taxi operators want Gauteng MEC for Roads and Transport, Ismail Vadi, to intervene in their dispute with the Witwatersrand African Taxi Association (Wata), whom they accuse of ignoring court orders prohibiting them from operating the Dube route.

In a statement, Vadi said the actions of the taxi operators were most unfortunate, and entirely unwarranted given that he and his departmental officials have in recent weeks engaged with the executive committee of Nanduwe in resolving their dispute over routes with Wata.

Vadi said this kind of lawlessness in the taxi industry will not be tolerated under any circumstances and called on the association to allow due processes to unfold.

“The department remains committed to implementing the mutually agreed to Section 79 hearings as per the Court Order within the specified period, and appeals to Nanduwe to respect the agreement reached with the Department,” Vadi said.

Nanduwe taxi operators are accusing Wata of defying a court judgement ordering them to withdraw their taxis from the Dube route and also prohibiting them from picking up passengers in the area.

The long-standing dispute between the two Soweto taxi associations over early morning pick-up points in Mofolo, Orlando West and Central Western Jabavu has been going on for a while

In December last year, the South Gauteng High Court had ruled in favour of Nanduwe following Wata’s application to have its rivals removed from the operation.

Another ruling in March this year came after Nanduwe applied for an interdict, accusing Wata of ignoring the previous order.

In that application, the court ruled that Wata should stop intimidating, assaulting, threatening and blocking Nanduwe from operating, but said that the order was not to determine the rightful operator of the route.

African News Agency