Taxi body calls for City to up its game
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Cape Town - The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) in the Western Cape has demanded the City and provincial transport department “pull up their” socks and stop the permissions duplication of routes which has been pinned among the issues fuelling taxi violence in the province.
About 83 taxi-related murders have occurred this year, with 24 people killed in July alone.
Santaco chairperson Nazeem Abdurahman said the department of transport also needed to take the blame on how routes are registered.
“The fight for routes is due to the acceptance of membership. The members are registered by the registrar. The department has to take blame where it allowed these routes to be registered under the existing motherbodies or regions.
“At no stage doe Santco get involved when a member applies for a license because we are almost outsiders.
“It is then difficult for Santaco to act in terms of suspending a member or association because we don’t issue licenses.
“As Santaco we are not saying we are also not to be blamed for our members but we have no jurisdiction or powers to arrest members that are transgressing in the industry.
“We can only notify the police, city and the department but nothing is done,” said Abdurahman.
Abdurahman was speaking on Thursday during a Transport and Public Works Standing Committee briefing by all relevant stakeholders.
An impasse between the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata) and Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations (Codeta) has also affected thousands of commuters, including learners, as most scholar transports refused to work under unsafe conditions.
However with the contested Bellville to Paarl B97 taxi route closed, a drafted “Peace Treaty” document and law enforcement agencies with the support of the army, a sense of order seems to have been restored.
Codeta’s spokesperson Andile Khanyi said Codeta affiliated taxis have also returned to the road operating a limited service in a few areas.
Cata’s Mandla Hermanus said one of things that need to be looked at was how the recruit associations operate.
“Mother bodies do this to bolster their numbers in preparation for conferences where one region might want to have the most votes. This also contributes to the violence seen in the industry.”
Hermanus also raised a concern of operating licences issued for the same route to different taxi associations.
Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith disputed that the City was also to blame and there was nothing they were doing.
“We have impounded 27 illegally operating taxis over the past two weeks and have made five arrests by searching taxis and constant patrols . It is unfair to say that what we have been doing is not enough. It must also be highlighted that traffic officers are intimidated when impounding these taxis.”
Transport Mec Daylin Mitchell said: “As a longer term solution we are looking at adjusting the regulatory framework. Review the supply and demand on key routes including long distance. Also review route descriptions. We are looking forward to the outcomes of the arbitration. Whatever recommendations that will be given will be implemented to create a safer environment.”
Standing committee chairperson in the provincial legislature Ricardo Mackenzie said moving forward they eagerly await the outcome of the arbitration process.
“Our role from the legislature is to monitor these outcomes, along with the response from all three spheres of government – local, provincial, and national. This is why we have requested a briefing twice a month from roleplayers and government, so as to evaluate outcomes against the goal of achieving safe, peaceful conditions for Western Cape commuters.”