No disruptions on roads after closure of taxi ranks
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Cape Town - Today is the first day of the B97 minibus taxi route between Mbekweni and Bellville being closed for two months, and there were no incidents of taxi violence reported.
The closure was announced by MEC of Transport and Public Works Daylin Mitchell on Friday in terms of Section 91 of the National Land Transport Act after week-long negotiations to stop the conflict failed to yield any positive results. There were fears that the announcement by the MEC would lead to another bloodbath with buses attacked.
The violence between operators on the B97 route affiliated to the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata) and Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations (Codeta) has claimed the lives of 81 people this year alone with 24 of those killed this month.
“Arbitration of the dispute resumes today,” said Mitchell, providing an update. “Certain ranks have also been closed. In addition, certain loading lanes at the Bellville Public Transport Interchange (PTI) used by Cata and Codeta-affiliated taxis have also been closed. The loading lanes at the Bellville PTI that serve taxis not affiliated to Cata or Codeta remain open.”
To control access in the Bellville interchange, the City of Cape Town has issued access tokens to associations and operators who are not affected by the current conflict so that they can continue to enter the Bellville PTI taxi rank and use their allocated loading lanes.
“Additional Golden Arrow bus services have been made available between Paarl and Bellville. Today I also visited the Goodwood Traffic Management Centre to monitor the situation on the affected routes and other PTIs. There are currently no disruptions on our roads.”
Police minister Bheki Cele also visited taxi ranks around Cape Town where he spoke to taxi drivers who are at present without an income.
“Speak to your bosses,” he said. “We do not close roads, the Minister of Transport does and we only follow gazetted information. We want to be out there chasing criminals not watching over roads. Stop fighting.”
The Weekend Argus reported on Sunday that the two troubled taxi associations are holding informal meetings in a last-ditch effort to find common ground so they can work together. Members of Codeta who were coming from these meetings last night reportedly came under attack when their car was shot at by unknown people. Mitchell said he was trusting the arbitration process to quell the violence as its recommendations would be binding to all parties including his department.
Police also arrested a taxi operator in Nyanga with an illegal firearm during a search in Ntlanganiso Street.
“Upon searching a vehicle, a 9mm pistol with ammunition was found. The occupant was arrested and detained when he could not provide a valid licence to be in possession of the mentioned firearm,” said police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk.