Cape Town - Warring taxi associations, the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata) and the Congress of Democratic Taxi Association (Codeta), have apologised for holding commuters to ransom for the past four weeks.
The two associations met with the Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula and Transport and Public Works MEC Daylin Mitchell at the Protea Fire and Ice hotel, to announce developments regarding the taxi violence.
Codeta secretary Lesley Sikuphela said they know the past weeks have been difficult, and people lost confidence in them.
Cata secretary Mandla Hermanus conveyed his regret that it had come this far. “We cannot bring back the lives of the people that have been lost.
“We cannot bring back the employment of the people that have lost their jobs, because we could not get them to their workplaces. Children will fail because they couldn’t catch up because we did not provide the transport services for them,” said Hermanus.
Mbalula said over the past few weeks they have been working closely with the Western Cape government to resolve the conflict in the province.
He said the ongoing violence on route B97 had resulted in fatalities on the part of operators, drivers and commuters, and property had been damaged.
He said following discussions with the two associations they had reached agreement and therefore decided to implement measures, with immediate effect.
The measures included that all legal operating licence-holders for routes to and from Mbekweni, except for route B97, must commence services as authorised by their operating licences or face the legal consequences.
Also, that all associations must instruct their members to return to service in line with the authorities issued with their operating licences and must do so in a manner that is safe for the public.
Mbalula said the registrar’s office would send out a letter to all associations communicating that instruction.
“All routes will be monitored and action will be taken against associations and individual operating licence-holders who are in breach of this instruction,” he said.
Mitchell said when route B97 is opened, only legal operating licence-holders would be allowed to operate and would serve the full route from the authorised ranks and terminals.
“Affected municipalities will be requested to place a moratorium on the issuance of new operating licences and applications for additional authorities on all affected routes while also rationalising these services,” he said.
Mitchell said they were still waiting for the outcomes of the arbitration process. He said the route B97 was still closed, and that all enforcers deployed on that route would remain there.
He said if the affected municipalities indicated the need for additional services on route B97, operating licences would be apportioned in accordance with the arbitration award.