WESTERN Cape MEC for Transport and Public Works, Daylin Mitchell called an urgent meeting with taxi industry leaders, to discuss the current extortion crimes taking place within the industry. File picture
WESTERN Cape MEC for Transport and Public Works, Daylin Mitchell called an urgent meeting with taxi industry leaders, to discuss the current extortion crimes taking place within the industry. File picture

MEC Daylin Mitchell meets with Western Cape taxi industry to urgently address extortion

By Robin-Lee Francke Time of article published Oct 7, 2021

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Cape Town – Western Cape MEC for transport and public works, Daylin Mitchell has met with the taxi industry in the province on Thursday, to discuss the criminal acts of extortion taking place.

Mitchell called the urgent meeting with the leaders of the SA National Taxi Council’s (Santaco) Western Cape branch on Thursday, to address his grave concerns.

He said his office has been inundated with complaints from victims of extortion, such as private companies and owners whose vehicles are being stopped by “elements” within the taxi industry (so-called patrollers), who impose “fines” or “release fees” on people who drive in certain communities.

Mitchell said the crimes have allegedly been aligned to both taxi association mother bodies – Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata) and Congress of Democratic Taxi Association (Codeta).

“It is not within the mandate of the Department of Transport and Public Works to investigate criminal activities, including crimes of this nature.

“We have, instead, adopted an approach of supporting SAPS and law enforcement in whichever way possible, to bring perpetrators of these crimes to book.

“As the MEC responsible for Transport, I have a responsibility to ensure that all commuters are transported in safety and with dignity. Law and order will not be compromised,” Mitchell said.

He said, at the meeting, he wanted to hear from the taxi leadership what is being done to put a stop to these crimes.

Mitchell said the crimes must be condemned and leaders within the minibus taxi industry have a responsibility to ensure their members operate within the law, and in accordance with their constitution and signed code of conduct.

During the meeting, the taxi industry leaders agreed there are many challenges leading to extortion and they have made a commitment for further engagements involving government, the industry, and other stakeholders, in finding lasting solutions to these crimes.

“In terms of the National Land Transport Act and supporting provincial laws, the provincial registrar may de-register associations or members and the provincial regulatory entity may withdraw operating licences from people who are convicted of extortion or other serious crimes,” Mitchell said.

He has urged residents to report extortion cases by opening criminal cases with the police.

Through engagements, all police stations have been provided with the standard operating procedures to follow, in the event that victims report extortion, illegal impounding of their vehicles, and any threats made by local taxi operators.

Santanco’s secretary general Gershon Meyer said the taxi council cannot condone the behaviour of certain individuals, who are impounding vehicles, in the taxi industry.

Members of the public can report extortion on 08600 10111.

The province’s taxi industry has been crumbling, as warring taxi associations have been at loggerheads, and this resulted in killings linked to violence within the taxi industry.

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