Cape Town - Taxi associations are fuming over the City’s newly amended traffic by-law saying they were not consulted about it, but will feel the brunt of the tougher clampdown.
Over the weekend, safety and security head JP Smith revealed the provincial government had finally given his department more powers to initiate changes to the by-law.
Smith said the provincial government’s approval means the City’s traffic services, metro police and law enforcement now had more authority to bring back law and order and improved safety to the metro’s 12000km road network within the municipality.
“Among other things, this legislation will now allow us to take drastic action against those who continue to disregard our road rules and endanger other road users, including those operating in the taxi industry, those partaking in illegal street racing activities, and those who fail to correctly display number plates.
“Once finalised, our various enforcement agencies will receive further training on how to fully utilise all aspects of this new legislation.
“Communities who have been calling for improved enforcement can rest assured that relief is imminent,” Smith said.
He said additions to the by-law would improve enforcement mechanisms, including the immediate impounding of vehicles deemed to be in contravention of the set changes.
The provincial government said it welcomed the directorate’s bid to reel-in Cape motorists to make roads safer for citizens.
Spokesperson for the premier Regan Thaw said: “The province has given its concurrence to the proposed amended City of Cape Town traffic by-law. We are confident that this amended by-law will contribute to greater adherence to responsible road behaviour, and likely save many lives. As a province, our operations would remain unaffected.”
While the government’s vote of confidence is loud and clear, the impending implementation of the new additions to the by-law has taxi associations unsettled.
Cape Town-based taxi giants Codeta and Cata both claim the additions are the City’s efforts to further disadvantage them.
Codeta secretary Nceba Enge said: “We are not happy. This by-law foretells of more abuse for our industry by the City. We have a problem with the City and the Department of Transport in this province because they are always looking for ways to incapacitate us by inconveniencing owners and drivers.
“We were not consulted regarding this by-law like on many other issues that the City and province take decisions on without us that affect us. What happens in this province, you never hear of it happening elsewhere.”
Enge said this week the association would be sitting down for a meeting before corresponding with the City to state its position and raise concerns.
Cata secretary Mongi Titi said: “To us, there seem to be no major changes, just the City doubling down on ways to impound our taxis. If the issue of operating licences is not addressed, we are going to suffer the way we are struggling now, it might even be worse.
“It seems the City and province are not singing the same tune, because the province to us said they were looking for ways to regulate and register the existing taxis and legalise them, but then on the other hand the City is intensifying the by-law.”
Curator of social media motorist platform Nizaar Marlie said: “We welcome the clampdown on illegal street racing and the impounding of vehicles used in these activities. However, we hope officers will not abuse their powers and work within the framework of the law.
“We also welcome the number plate enforcement, there are too many high-performance, high-end vehicles driving without number plates. The
City also needs to address the cloning of number plates. There need to be more resources allocated to this, innocent motorists are racking up fines, and there seems to be no way to rectify this matter,” Marlie said.
City critic group Stop CoCT founder Sandra Dickson said: “The City has a working traffic by-law. So it is hard to understand why it is looking to institute extensions when it should focus on actual traffic ‘boots on the streets’ than continue to rely on more harsh by-laws to do the job.