B97 route of death’s continued closure welcomed by taxi bosses
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CAPE TOWN - The Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (CATA) has welcomed the extended closure of the B97 minibus taxi route between Mbekweni in Paarl and Bellville, to stop violence between operators affiliated to them and the Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations (Codeta).
The route has been closed for a further three months as of November 26.
The B97 route was initially closed in July in an effort to quell the violence between feuding operators belonging to the two organisations.
Cata secretary Mandla Hermanus said It would be impossible to reopen the route when the arbitration process has not been finalized as that would lead to renewed tensions between the organisations.
“AS CATA we welcome the decision to extend the closure of route B97. We hope that this will be the last extension as the arbitration is at its final stage. We urge law enforcement to ensure that the closure does not affect other operations such as long-distance travelling to the Eastern Cape, as we approach the holiday season,” said Hermanus.
Transport and Public Works MEC Daylin Mitchell said these decisions were taken after efforts by regulatory stakeholders to resolve the impasse between the affected parties had not been successful. The violence had continued unabated and more lives had been lost.
“These interventions included, inter-alia, several mediation efforts, peace conferences, a pre-arbitration agreement in which both agreed to refer the matter to arbitration and to abide by the outcome thereof, and a ceasefire agreement. Regrettably, shots were also fired at law enforcement officers during violent protest action. Protestors demanded that the route be opened for taxi operations. The parties have rejected the option of signing a “bridging agreement” so that the route can be reopened,” said Mitchell.
On November 23, a notice was published in terms of sections 91(1) and 91(3) of the NLTA indicating an intention to close the B97 route for a period of three months with the option of extending the closure further.
“Interested and affected persons were allowed a period of 24 hours to make representations regarding the proposed actions. One representation was received within the prescribed comment period,” he said.