Declare ceasefire, taxi bosses urged as violence paralyses economy
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Cape Town - The ongoing taxi industry crisis will further devastate an already suffering economy of the Western Cape with businesses left hamstrung and job losses looming, if not urgently resolved.
Thousands of commuters have been left stranded since last week as taxis have parked their vehicles and refused to operate amid ongoing shootings.
The Golden Arrow Bus Service has been offering a limited service and e-hailing services also refusing to operate.
Cape Metro Development Council (CDMC) convenor Ndithini Tyhido said the township economy was dependent on the functionality of the public transport system.
“We have vendors and informal traders who work at the taxi ranks but have now been forced to abandon their sources of income.
“Some have to travel to work in far areas and cannot walk to work meaning they are at home facing the chances of being unemployed.
“Businesses have had to change their trading hours and close early because the few who can make it to work must be dropped back home before it’s dark because even staff transports are being attacked. These are businesses that are still trying to recover from the Covid-19 lockdown.”
Tyhido urged the taxi industry to cease fire and for employers to be sympathetic to their staff.
The South African Informal Traders Alliance (Saita) warned that traders operating at taxi ranks to exercise caution.
This as a number of traders in various taxi ranks have abandoned their stalls.
Saita president Rosheda Muller said: “Our taxi rank in Bellville has been really affected by the taxi war and because of fear, traders do not trade. Even in Khayelitsha, I received a report that the traders are afraid.
“We are very concerned about what is happening with regard to the taxi industry impacting adversely on the informal traders in and around taxi ranks. We are asking our traders to be careful,“ she said.
A trader who asked their identity be withheld said he closed his stall last week and he was now sitting at home.
“The last time I was there, the situation was very risky, people started running out of nowhere. The traders are not making a living at the moment. The traders are on their own, ” he said.
Another trader who was open for business on Tuesday said the threat of death was high.
“I have made changes now, usually I open at 6am but now I will come around 8am because I don’t know if I come too early what will happen to me,” he said.
Finance and Economic Opportunities David Maynier said the real victims of the taxi violence in the province were people who were losing their incomes and even their jobs.
’’Police and other law enforcement agencies must do everything possible to ensure commuters are safe so that we can continue the important project of saving lives, saving jobs and rebuilding our economy in the Western Cape,” said Maynier.
Cape Chamber of Commerce president Jacques Moolman said the taxi industry violence does not only scare off potential paying passengers but creates a vicious cycle of negatively affecting the entire City economy and not least the taxi sector itself.