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JP Smith not resigning despite the EFF calling for his head

City of Cape Town safety and security mayco member JP Smith. Picture: ANA Archive

City of Cape Town safety and security mayco member JP Smith. Picture: ANA Archive

Published Aug 9, 2023


Safety and security mayco member JP Smith has slammed calls by the EFF for his immediate resignation over accusations that he “failed to deal diplomatically” with the taxi protest.

The EFF in the Cape metro released a statement on Wednesday saying Smith has “failed to demonstrate strong leadership”, which would have required him to apply conflict resolution strategies to deal with the taxi protest.

“JP Smith's immediate response to the taxi protest should have been coordination, collaboration, and cooperation with various stakeholders to find an agreeable solution.

“The establishment of a task team that consists of different political parties, taxi associations as well civil society organisations would have avoided the violence, bloodshed and violence that took place over the past few days.

“Instead, Smith became arrogant and acted like the warmonger that he is, threatening to use state police to respond violently to the protest,” read the statement.

The party added that it “encourages” the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) to fight for the release of their taxis.

In response, Smith said that the EFF would have to discuss his resignation with the mayor.

“The mayor, myself, the party and our City administration are saying the same thing. The EFF is part of the problem here, what is being asked is for us to amend the law to spare the people who perpetrate violence and break the law.

“They should decide what exactly it is they want, whether they want a lawful society or lawlessness.

“I am an enforcer, I enforce the law, I don't write the law. Safety and security is not the problem, the hatred is misguided. There needs to be consistency and logic in dealing with issues,” he said.

Meanwhile the City on Tuesday issued a statement saying all taxi impoundments in the metro were for offences under the National Land Transport Act (NLTA).

This after Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga said the City’s impounding of taxis was unlawful.

In that statement Smith said: “The National Land Transport Act was introduced by national government to regulate public transport. It is not City legislation, and so the Minister’s demand that we release taxis falls foul of the very legislation that national government introduced. In Cape Town, we amended our Traffic by-law to bring equality to impoundments, so that we can also hold private vehicle owners accountable for serious driving offences that place lives at risk. The Safety and Security Directorate has had many meaningful engagements with the taxi industry over the years, and will continue to do so, but not until there is a complete cessation of violence.”

Cape Times