Hundreds of taxis blockaded streets in the Johannesburg central business district. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union said on Thursday it was worried about the negative impact that the closure of taxi routes in Soweto would have on the township's economy in general and working-class commuters in particular, but conceded the move would mitigate violence between warring associations.

Gauteng province member of the executive council for roads and transport Ismail Vadi on Wednesday announced the closure of routes operated by fighting Soweto taxi associations Nancefield Dube West Taxi Association (Nanduwe) and Witwatersrand Taxi Association (Wata) for three months from Friday.

"The Gauteng Transport MEC Ismail Vadi is commended for taking this decision as it will assist in mitigating the spate of violence between the two associations," Satawu general secretary Jack Mazibuko said.

"The union condemns territorial disputes that result in death of people and injury of commuters. We hope that an amicable solution through the current negotiation process will resolve existing violence and tensions of the two associations."

He urged the government to regulate the taxi industry and speed up the process of an integrated public transport system that was safe, reliable and affordable.

"The ease of commute allows for access to opportunities ranging from work, education, sport and recreation," said Mazibuko. "Addressing general transport challenges including the case of Nanduwe and Wata is one of the most critical factors needed for the rehabilitation exploitative social relations."

African News Agency/ANA