File picture: Sharon Seretlo / Independent Media.

Johannesburg - Gauteng roads and transport MEC Ismail Vadi on Monday lifted the suspension of minibus taxis operating under the Witwatersrand African Taxi Owners Association (Wata) in Soweto. 

Wata, along with the Nancefield Dube West Taxi Association (Nanduwe) were suspended and their taxi ranks closed last month due violence linked to route disputes. Nanduwe remains suspended after it refused to cooperate and help cease the violence, said Vadi. 

''I intend lifting the extraordinary measures instituted on 13 July that were extended to Wata, which were aimed at normalising public transport services in Soweto," said Vadi. 

"However, the shutting down of public transport operations at the five designated taxi ranks and routes will remain in force for Nanduwe members as they have refused to sign an agreement with Wata to operate peacefully.'' 

He said Wata members agreed to remove their own armed security company on the affected taxi routes and ranks, committed to end all forms of violence and intimidation and support a declaration that taxi ranks and routes be gun-free zones. 

The month-long extraordinary measure, effected until August 13, negatively affected thousands of commuters as they had to resort to costly alternative transport and longer hours on the road. 

MEC for Community Safety Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane said law enforcement personnel would man the taxi ranks and routes to thwart any incidents of violence and intimidation. 

African News Agency (ANA)