File picture: Dumisani Sibeko/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - The bloodshed, malicious damage to property, and public violence that has characterised the turf war between two taxi associations in Johannesburg has gone on for far too long and commuter safety has to be the priority, the African National Congress in Gauteng said on Saturday.

The ANC in Gauteng had taken note of the decision of the Gauteng roads and transport department to keep six specific taxi ranks and routes in Soweto, Johannesburg closed as of Friday until further notice, the Gauteng ANC said in a statement.

"The bloodshed, malicious damage to property, and public violence that has characterised the turf war between two taxi associations, the Witwatersrand African Taxi Owners Association (WATA) and Nancefield Dube West Taxi Association (Nanduwe) has gone on for far too long. The ANC calls on the two taxi associations to find the middle ground and ensure that they put the interest of commuters first."

The closure of the affected taxi ranks and routes would no doubt impact negatively on commuters. However, the safety of public transport users was of paramount importance. 

Public transport, especially the taxi industry, had played a pivotal role in propelling the economy of Gauteng by transporting commuters to various parts of the province, thus enabling economic activity. 

"The ANC in Gauteng remains committed to ensuring the transformation of the public transport sector through investment in the modernisation of public transport infrastructure and giving commuters access to a more integrated, accessible, affordable, reliable, and safe public transport system. This is an important component of spatial transformation and the advancing of social transformation and building an inclusive economy," the statement said.

African News Agency/ANA