Expect long queues and a strained commute to work as taxi operators go on strike from Monday. Picture: Bheki Radebe/ANA Pictures

Cape Town - Thousands of taxi commuters will be left stranded as taxi associations across Cape Town down tools from Monday.

The strike, which will include members of the Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations (Codeta), Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata) and the Retreat Taxi Association, comes as a result of brewing frustration over taxi impoundments, new taxi laws and the upcoming provincial South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) elections.

Elections for a new regional executive were supposed to be held in March, but due to certain aspects not being ironed out ahead of time, elections have not yet taken place. 

Codeta spokesperson Andile Khanyi said new policies and mandates for the upcoming executive was supposed to have been created before the elections. Another issue of content was the impoundment of taxis and the hefty fines.

“We wanted to have a Taxi Indaba where issues experienced with the existing Santaco provincial leadership could be discussed. At the moment we are not happy with the Santaco executive leadership. They are working as individuals and are not consulting us in ant decision makings,” he said.

Khanyi said the associations,on numerous occasions, approached Western Cape Transport and Public Works MEC Donald Grant for guidance in creating a criteria and policies for the taxi industry before election time.

Nazeem Daniels of the Delft Taxi Association, northern region, said an attempt to have a meeting with the Santaco leadership in March was unsuccessful.

“They walked out of the meeting. All we want to have a set mandate and criteria for the upcoming leadership expected to be elected next month,” he said.

 CATA has already distributed flyers and posters informing commuters of the strike.

James Maki from Cata said the association had already deliberated and a decision to park taxis at the taxi ranks was made.

“We urge our commuters to make alternative arrangements,” he said.

Jay-Jay Maans chairperson of the Retreat Taxi Association said it is unknown whether the strike will be peaceful or not.

“ We don’t want to endanger the lives of our commuters and drivers and will therefore not be operating,” he said.

Santaco provincial chairperson Vernon Biller told the Weekend Argus he was not aware of the strike.

He said the strike was instigated by a group of people who wanted to change policies outside of the conference.

Grant’s spokesperson Siphesihle Dube said the MEC was aware of the threats of strike action set to commence.

“It is worth noting that the Minister has agreed to meet with operators this morning to come to some resolution about their grievances and requests.

“Law enforcement authorities are also aware of the threat to strike action and will be on alert to respond to whatever eventuality” he said. 

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Cape Argus