Picture: Boxer Ngwenya/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Johannesburg - Gauteng Road and Transport MEC Ismail Vadi has announced the closure of ranks and routes operated by two rival Soweto taxi associations Wata and Nanduwe.

Vadi said the taxi ranks and routes where the two rival associations Witwatersrand African Taxi Association (Wata) and Nancefield Dube West Taxi Association (Nanduwe) will be closed for a period of three months, starting from Friday 15 March to 15 June.

“This closure of the ranks and routes arises from the ongoing conflict and violence between members of Wata and Nanduwe,” Vadi said.

“It is necessary to shut down their minibus taxi services for the safety of commuters and residents of Soweto,” he added.

The specific routes to be closed are Makhetha Stores in Central Western Jabavu, Mofolo Sizwe Stores Taxi Rank, Kwa-Mthetwa Stores in Mofolo (Corner Machaba and Nxumalo Streets), Dube station taxi rank, Makhetha Garage (Pela and Mahalefela Road) and Uncle Tom’s Hall in Orlando West.

Vadi said in terms of published regulations, no person is allowed to operate a minibus taxi service along the specific ranks and routes in Soweto.

“A person is guilty of an offence if he or she operates minibus taxi services in contravention of the Regulation,” Vadi said.

A term of imprisonment not exceeding six months or a fine not exceeding R25 000 may be imposed to any person convicted for contravening the regulation.

The two associations have been in dispute over taxi routes and since January this year there have been about five murder cases reported, five malicious damage to property cases, and one public violence incident.

The latest incident resulted in six people being shot and about seven vehicles damaged, with one vehicle being burnt.

The Star