Despite talks, no deal yet to stem taxi violence in Cape Town
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Cape Town - There seems to be no end in sight to the ongoing taxi violence, with even national Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula unable to bring them to heel.
Mbalula, Transport and Public Works MEC Daylin Mitchell and taxi associations met at the weekend, but no agreement was signed, as intended.
After several shootings that have claimed multiple lives and left scores wounded, with commuters being caught in the crossfire, Mbalula flew to the province on Thursday evening, to join Mitchell in a meeting with taxi industry stakeholders.
They met at the Gene Louw Traffic College in Brackenfell on Friday and Saturday, but they did not reach an agreement on who should operate route B97 that the two associations, Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata) and the Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations (Codeta), were allegedly fighting for.
Mbalula said the violence that has gripped the taxi industry in Cape Town continued to pain all.
“Working together with government and the taxi industry stakeholders, we must find urgent solutions to end this,” he said.
Mitchell said engagements between the government and the minibus taxi industry to end the violence in the province were ongoing.
At last count there had been 82 taxi-related murders since the start of the year.
The most recent incident occurred in Klipfontein Road near Bardale Village in Blue Downs on Friday.
Police spokesperson Joseph Swartbooi said upon arrival at the scene, the police found a 28-year-old man who had sustained gunshot wounds. He was transported to a nearby hospital for medical attention.
“Meanwhile, the body of a 35-year-old male who sustained gunshot wounds was declared deceased. Mfuleni police is investigating a case of murder and attempted murder. The suspects fled the scene and are yet to be arrested.”
Mitchell said although no agreement had been reached during talks facilitated by the department on Friday, the leaders of Cata and Codeta, in their report back to the government, requested time to engage their members and to continue their dialogue on Sunday.
“The Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works will therefore continue to provide logistical support, including the services of independent mediators for this dialogue to continue within and between Cata and Codeta,” he said.
Mitchell said the department would also continue to work closely with the police, traffic and law enforcement and the Community Safety Department to ensure that the necessary enforcement operations were planned to ensure law and order and that the safety of commuters was prioritised at all times.
Cata secretary Mandla Hermanus said it was possible that commuters might experience another week of no taxis.
“We are currently at a meeting as Cata executive. We have not been able to come up with any proposal that would be different from what we have proposed during the various engagements, which were all rejected by Codeta,” said Hermanus.
Codeta spokesperson Andile Khanyi declined to comment, stating that the engagement was ongoing.
SA Communist Party provincial secretary Benson Ngqentsu said the internecine taxi violence continued to plague the Western Cape, needlessly claiming the lives of several people over a considerable period.
“We remain extremely concerned about this unending violence and consequently the suspension of taxi operations, as it puts the lives of commuters at risk of either being killed or robbed,” said Ngqentsu.
He said they continued to work closely with the respective associations to find a lasting solution, and their earnest appeal was for the taxi industry to operate in conditions of peace and stability.