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The run-up to the South African Taxi Council (Santaco) Western Cape elective conference in October could be marred by further violence as attempts to quell infighting between operators stall.

But Santaco vowed to go ahead with its planned regional conference, which begins on Tuesday. The conference will pave the way for the election of new provincial leadership in October, despite resistance from some members.

Tensions within the industry over the election broke out on Monday, when operators affiliated to the Minibus Taxi Industry Task Team went on strike to protest against the leadership vacuum in the province’s structure.

On Friday the ANC held meetings with the affected parties to try to resolve the issues within the industry and possibly ward off the possibility of another strike.

A provincial conference, scheduled to take place on October 1 and 2 will see Boland, Mitchell’s Plain, Two Oceans, Greater Cape Town, the Congress of Democratic Taxi Association (Codeta), the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association and Northern regions electing new leadership if the first leg of the regional conferences proceeds without disagreement among the feuding groups.

Codeta spokesperson and member of the task team Nobesutho Ndungane said the problems started when the elections did not take place last year.

“There was supposed to be an election in 2017 but that didn’t happen because of the court action. The task team was endorsed in 2016, they were mandated with making interventions prior to the elections and if there were no interventions, then there would have been these unfair electoral processes that would have jeopardised many of my members,” he said.

“The court ruling in June made way for provincial elections that are free and fair, issues such as corruption and the current leadership’s wish to continuously hold on to power when they have no mandate, what they would have done is manipulate the elections so that their desires could be achieved.”

Santaco’s Nazeem Abdurahman said the task team was a rogue structure made up of suspended members and route invaders whose aim was to overthrow Santaco.

“Most of those members are suspended members who have been in leadership before and now with the upcoming elections, they want to derail things and now they have joined forces with the route invaders to help them fight Santaco,” he said.

Abdurahman said the resistance to the conference was something that happened every election year, adding the violent clashes could worsen if other operators were barred from providing services again.

“We have got bad bullies on that side that are holding the entire industry to ransom. We have continuously communicated the dates for the conference and you can see who is delaying the conference by pushing certain agendas, by allowing certain members to participate in the conference,” he added.

Weekend Argus