Pretoria - The Gauteng department of roads and transport on Monday said it had obtained an order interdicting violence between the warring Witwatersrand African Taxi Owners Association (WATA) and the Nancefield Dube West Taxi Association (Nanduwe) following scenes of violence and arson in Johannesburg.
The interdict, issued by the High Court in Johannesburg High Court, states that “chairpersons of both associations and their members are interdicted from preventing, obstructing, or otherwise interfering with the rights of taxi operators and or any public transport operators to operate their transport businesses between Soweto and Johannesburg CBD”, according to the Gauteng roads and transport department.
It further interdicts the associations from intimidating, committing, or threatening to commit acts of violence against any public transport operator, their agents or employees and members of the public who make use and who wish to make use of the bus services between Soweto and Johannesburg CBD.
The Department of Roads and Transport approached the court on an urgent basis, seeking the interdict which empowers the South African Police Service and the Gauteng department of community safety to take “necessary steps” to ensure that the associations comply with this court order.
On Monday morning, Gauteng MEC for Roads and Transport Jacob Mamabolo said the situation had calmed down following the weekend torching of taxis.
“While in our view, the situation has returned to normality, we urge law enforcement to enforce the law, hold criminals accountable and secure the safety of commuters and other road users,” said Mamabolo.
“We held positive consultations with both the leadership of Wata and Nanduwe together with their mother body structures, the Gauteng National Taxi Alliance (GNTA) and the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) respectively, and we are buoyed by the fact that all parties have condemned the violence and committed to peace.”
At the meeting held on Sunday, Mamabolo said all parties committed to the cessation of hostilities and ensuring the transport services between Soweto and the Johannesburg CBD continue safely, without endangering the lives of commuters.
“We are pleased that all parties involved have agreed to urgently address the root cause of the violence, which are disputes over routes. In this regard, the platforms for negotiations we have created as the provincial government remain available,” he said.
The Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport said it remains steadfast in its “programme of modernising and corporatising the taxi industry” for it to be a competitive, safe and reliable mode of public transport.
“We believe that problems in the industry are not insurmountable and that through negotiation and consultation, we will create a taxi industry of the future,” said Mamabolo.
The MEC and the taxi associations agreed to meet for further negotiations during the week.