THE Cape Bar Council has offered to mediate between taxi operators and the Western Cape government and invited all parties that were involved in the taxi strike to consider a long-term vision of how “the society must respond to violence, greed, panic, and social cohesion the deadly taxi strike”.
This follows a bruising strike by the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) that has caused havoc for commuters and seen vehicles being stoned and burned in the Western Cape after a new municipal law gave local authorities the power to impound vehicles for violations such as driving without a license or registration plates.
In a letter addressed to the affected parties and seen by the Falcons, the chairperson of the bar advocate Thabani Masuku said that the bar was most concerned about the dispute that has resulted in the breakdown of the public transport system and generated public violence that has resulted in a loss of property and life.
“Public safety and the effectiveness of the public transport system are indispensable requirements for a vibrant and sustainable economy, healthy and creative communities.
“Our province is facing an incredible challenge that demands visionary leadership, an acute sense of service and mission, and creative solutions. The needless loss of life through violence, and the destruction of private and public property undermines the core values of our constitutional democratic system.
“Ultimately it drives fear and panic in society. We are deeply concerned that the solution to the current violence and breakdown of law and order will not be founded on a long-term vision of how our society must respond to violence, greed, panic, and social cohesion.
“As an association of advocates who provide legal services to all who seek them, irrespective of who they are, we call for all the parties involved in this dispute to pause and reflect on what strategies should be employed to resolve the impasse.
“We appeal to the parties to consider whether mediation should not be employed to create the appropriate conditions for resolving the disputes.
Masuku stated that the Bar was blessed with committed mediation experts who are available and would be willing to assist the parties to find each other in the dispute.
“We implore the parties to contact the Cape Bar Council offices to inquire into mediation services that may be offered to them to resolve this dispute.
“The Cape Bar Council recommends Advocate Norman Arendse SC who is available and willing to act as a mediator. He is an experienced mediator with a commendable record of bringing parties to acceptable solutions in complex disputes.
“He is also one of the Cape Bar’s most senior members who enjoys the confidence of members. His standing in society is well known and we do not doubt that society in general would find his role in a mediation acceptable.”
Following Masuku’s appeal to find long-term solutions, the chair of the Western Cape Advocates For Transformation advocate Mohamed Salie SC issued a press statement in support of the Bar Council’s offer that parties engage in exploring an urgent mediation to create the appropriate conditions in resolving this dispute.
“We support the appointment of Senior Counsel, under the leadership of Norman Arendse SC to conduct this mediation, without any further delay,” read the statement.
Speaking to the Falcons, Masuku said he hoped that all the parties would act in the interest of the public.
“The winners in this dispute should be the public, its safety, and the safety of public and private property.
“We urge parties to use mediation as a way of resolving this matter rather than acrimonious proceedings that demand an outcome where there is a winner and a loser.
“The power that these parties have is to service the public and not their egos. The Bar calls on the parties to accept mediation as an appropriate dispute resolution mechanism that will enable them to think out of the legal box,” said Masuku.