Taxi bodies Nanduwe and WATA still at loggerheads

South Africa - Johannesburg. Taxi bodies Nanduwe and WATA still at loggerheads Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency(ANA)

South Africa - Johannesburg. Taxi bodies Nanduwe and WATA still at loggerheads Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Apr 21, 2024


TWO of Soweto’s major taxi associations have reached a stalemate, while embattled commuters are forced to seek alternative transport.

This comes amid a taxi war between the Nancefield Dube-West Taxi Association (Nanduwe) and the Witwatersrand African Taxi Association (WATA) due to operational permits and routes.

On Friday, the Gauteng MEC for Transport and Logistics, Kedibone Diale-Tlabela, held an imbizo with commuters at Uncle Tom’s Hall in Orlando West, Soweto.

The purpose of the imbizo was to relay the MEC’s intentions on invoking Section 91 of the National Land Transport Act. The act allows her to exercise her prerogative to order the closure of routes and taxi associations that incite violence.

The war between the associations arose 11 years ago, and has produced fatalities. On April 11, WATA resumed operations despite its suspension, while Nanduwe withdrew operations.

Diale-Tlabela said: “My visit to Soweto was to explain in detail our interventions aimed at ensuring that we safeguard the lives of commuters and taxi operators.

“Our approach to resolving this crisis has always been people-centric. We believe that commuters and the community affected by the conflict between the associations are the first priority in whatever we do as the government,” she said.

The MEC maintained that the department had not closed and stopped operations, but they remain suspended. Also, the department has the intention to withdraw operational permits and close routes, hence, the publication of the gazette.

As part of resolving the dispute, the department is planning to amend the contested routes and its operating licences to avoid duplication of these routes.

This intervention is the first of its kind, since these routes were formulated.

Diale-Tlabela said previously that Nanduwe had duplicated permits, whereas WATA had valid working permits.

“By amending these routes, we are dealing with the core issue in the long-standing dispute. We are collaborating with other government entities to deal with outstanding operating licence renewals.

“We will soon announce an end-to-end process that will assist in regulating operators that have taken legitimate steps to renew their documents,” she said.

Since the start of the taxi war, law enforcement has been present to ensure public safety and control possible violent acts.

Diale-Tlabela noted and thanked the mother bodies of the taxi industry, the South African National Taxi Council and the Gauteng National Taxi Alliance, which have been present in conflict resolution between the associations.

The MEC pointed out that the taxi industry played a vital role in strengthening the economy in the province as the “largest people mover”.

“The provincial government continues to support initiatives to modernise and corporatise the industry. These include the establishment of the taxi fund, which co-ordinates several empowerment opportunities for the industry,” she said.