Commuters sit around hoping to get a taxi during a strike on Monday. Picture: Lindiwe Mlandu/African News Agency (ANA)

Commuters will be relieved that the violent taxi strike across the Western Cape has been called off after the ANC intervened to mediate between the parties at loggerheads.

Thousands of commuters were stranded on Monday because the Minibus Taxi Industry Task Team (MTITT) wanted its pre-elective conference to have all the “necessary powers” to make decisions and not be an indaba. The task team claimed its plea had been ignored by the mother body, the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco).

Congress Organisation of Democratic Taxi Association (Codeta) regional leader Besuthu Ndungane said after a three-hour meeting last night: "The taxi strike has been withdrawn due to the commitment that has been made by the ANC in the province that it will ensure that it facilitates a process with Santaco that there will be free and fair elections in the Western Cape.

"The commitment was made through the ANC's Cameron Dugmore. There will be a meeting at 10am tomorrow between the task team and the ANC to take the process forward."

Codeta, the biggest taxi association in Khayelitsha, gave its backing to the strike until the pre-elective conference is held in the format it wants.

Santaco deputy chairperson Nazeem Abdurahman said before the strike: “Santaco distances itself from the strike. We had numerous meetings regarding the issues and MTITT walked away. A judge was appointed to intervene and give us direction but they were still unhappy with the decisions and conclusion. 

"They want suspended Santaco members to be part of the elections and the judge said that is not possible. The strike will be illegal because of their permit conditions.”

Dugmore, an ANC member of the provincial parliament, said: "They agreed to end the strike on our request and our commitment to bring the affected parties together."

Two Golden Arrow buses were set alight in Khayelitsha in the early hours of Monday morning, and thousands of commuters were left stranded.

In an earlier statement, the ANC condemned the torching of buses and said the entire public transport system in the province needed to be overhauled.

"ANC calls for a permanent resolution to the taxi industry's various challenges and concerns, permanent solutions to the train security and operational challenges, and a better operational model for MyCiTi and the busing system.

"Today's torching of buses and other destruction exacerbates the enduring transportation system challenges in this province. It is also a criminal act which must be swiftly dealt with by police."