Cape Town - Even though there had been a lull in the taxi war gripping the city in the last 24 hours, the eerie unease is still keeping the majority of taxi’s and buses off the streets, leaving thousands of workers stranded.
Good party secretary-general Brett Herron said there had been a collapse of public transport in the city.
He said commuters, some of whom were queueing from 4am each week day morning to make sure they get to work on time, were stranded by the failing public transport network.
Herron said with Metrorail largely inoperable and completely unpredictable, trains were no longer an alternative choice for those who needed to make sure they get to work on time.
“The MyCiTi Bus service is no longer servicing Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain since June 2019, and I understand is no longer servicing Dunoon. This leaves commuters with taxis and Golden Arrow Bus Service (Gabs) – already operating at capacity in the peak,” said Herron.
He said transport was in crisis in Cape Town and there was no one at the helm capable of solving it.
Transport and Public Works MEC Daylin Mitchell said the recent events in public transport sector have once again confirmed the importance of the service provided by Gabs to the residents of the Western Cape.
Commuters have been stranded for more than a week due to the ongoing minibus taxi violence between the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata) and the Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations (Codeta),which had resulted in the killing of more than 80 people this year, forcing Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula and Mitchell to meet with the two associations.
Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Jacques Moolman said the violence did not only scare off potential paying passengers, it also created a vicious cycle negatively affecting the entire city economy.
“Lack of transport means no freedom of movement. This prevents people getting to and from work. It affects production, profitability, business closures, job losses, tax collection, local government welfare programmes – like ripples in a pond,” said Moolman.
SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) provincial spokesperson Gershon Geyer said after more than a week of negotiations, Cata and Codeta were unable to find common ground.
Geyer said an arbitration hearing would be held next week and they would wait for the outcome.
Premier Alan Winde said in a meeting with Gabs' chief executive Francois Meyer yesterday, he was advised that the bus service was continuing to bring to service more of its fleet, after the disruptions earlier this week.
“I made it clear that ensuring the safety of public transport operations is my top priority, and that SAPS has significantly increased their presence to ensure that violence is prevented,” said Winde.
Meyer said the recent spate of taxi violence across the metropole had had a devastating impact on Golden Arrow’s ability to offer its scheduled services to their 250 000 daily passengers.
He said historically Gabs had been known as the most stable public transport operator, who has always been there for Capetonians when other services were not operational.
“Unfortunately, the brazen criminality that we have seen over the last week has made this impossible,” he said.
ANC provincial convenor Lerumo Kalako and the party’s provincial leader Cameron Dugmore held a press briefing addressing among other things, the taxi conflict.
Kalako said the shooting and killing of innocent passengers was extremely disgusting and shameful.
He said while they understood that the taxi industry was a major contributor to the country’s economy as it transports millions of the workers and the poor daily, they remained deeply worried about the approach that the industry, especially in the metro, take when attempting to settle disputes.