Transport MEC Donald Grant said tabling a report by a commission investigating taxi violence in Delft had been postponed until Friday.Picture: Henk Kruger/African News AGENCY(ana)
A report into deadly Delft taxi feuds is expected on Friday, while Police Minister Bheki Cele is due back in the Western Cape to facilitate talks between taxi associations and the provincial transport department.

This comes in the wake of clashes between taxi associations that left 15 taxi drivers dead across the region.

Alleged regulatory failures, route invasions, and illegal operators coming into competitors’ areas have been fingered as key contributing factors to the feuds.

MEC of Transport Donald Grant said: “We have put together an independent commission made up of two advocates and one other person to gather information from all the nine associations operating in the Delft area and compile a report.

“The report was due this Friday but my officials have informed me that the preliminary report was sent back, so this is a delay of around one week.”

Grant said Cele agreed to a meeting to discuss issues raised during his meeting with taxi bosses two weeks ago.

Cele threatened to close ranks if violence in problematic areas.

But just last week a protest broke out in Hout Bay where drivers associated with the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Associations (Cata) claimed competing taxis from the Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations (Codeta) were being allowed to operate on their routes illegally.

The Centre for Constitutional Rights’ Rebecca Sibanda said the latest commissioned hearings were not a first for the province, as another inquiry was established in 2005 to investigate violence within the taxi industry.

“In 2018, the provincial transport department has again opened the floor for hearings with the hope of identifying the root cause of taxi violence, yet the committee’s report was submitted over 10 years ago,” she said.

“As it stands, there is no evidence that its recommendations were implemented.

“The lack of urgency in ensuring that the lives of affected groups are protected, speaks to the absence of a human rights culture, aimed at serving and protecting the safety and security of commuters and operators, their dignity, and their economic stability.”

“The violence has far-reaching consequences for the average commuter, as minibus taxis account for 29% of all public transport users in the Western Cape.

“Nationally, taxis carry more commuters than the bus and railway services combined.

“One glaring issue is that the minibus taxi service is not subsidised and this was identified as a reason for the thriving corruption in the industry.

“Taxi drivers operate recklessly and are often met with a lukewarm response,’’ said Grant.