Cape Town - The Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata) and the Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations (Codeta) have welcomed the amendments allowing them to load passengers at the Bellville Public Transport Interchange (PTI).
Transport and Public Works MEC Daylin Mitchell said that following an assessment of the safety situation and transport operations by the police and various traffic authorities, he decided to amend his initial notice dated July 23.
Mitchell said in terms of section 91(2) of the National Land Transport Act, the regulations empowered him to close Route B97 between Mbekweni and Bellville for all minibus taxi operations, and affected operating licences linked to that route have also been suspended.
He said following the signing of an agreement by the affected parties on August 2 and a week of relative calm and peaceful operations at the interchange and on routes, it was agreed that all Cata- and Codeta-affiliated associations would return to service and that operators would conduct their services with due regard to the rule of law and the safety of the public.
“The situation was monitored for a number of days, and the Department of Transport and Public Works, as well as affected municipalities, are satisfied that minibus-taxi services are operating normally and in adherence with the agreement,” said Mitchell.
Among the amended regulations, all loading lanes at Bellville PTI re-opened on Friday, with only the Paarl loading lane at the Bellville Long Distance Facility remaining closed for minibus-taxi operations.
Other regulations were that all legal operators must load passengers at the Bellville rank. No loading would be allowed outside the facility.
He said the ranks in Mbekweni remained closed. Operators holding valid operating licences authorising services on routes to and from the Mbekweni ranks may continue to provide such services and may load and set down passengers along the route, but may not enter the rank.
Codeta spokesperson Andile Khanyi and Cata secretary Mandla Hermanus welcomed the amendments.
SA National Taxi Council provincial spokesperson Gershon Geyer said that, based on the reports he had gathered, no operations have taken place since the route was closed.
Geyer requested that the department contact law enforcement and impound any illegal operators on the route.
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said he was pleased that the taxi industry has paid heed to the call not to place the lives of commuters and the public in harm’s way and allow due process to take its course in resolving conflicts.
Mbalula said the amendments to the regulations further demonstrated the government’s commitment to fulfilling its end of the bargain by easing the extraordinary measures gazetted by the MEC.