Warring Cape taxi bosses put forward plan for Bellville, Paarl route
Share this article:
Cape Town - Transport officials are mulling over recommendations aimed at ending the ongoing taxi violence in the Western Cape which has led to more than deaths 20 deaths and plunged the public transport into deep crisis.
Soldiers were deployed to quell the ongoing violence on Tuesday.
Parliamentarian and United Democratic Front (UDM) leader, Bantu Holomisa, and trade unionist leader, Zwelinzima Vavi, held talks with the warring taxi bodies. All parties then made recommendations to Transport MEC Daylin Mitchell and national Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula.
Holomisa was impressed with the cooperation displayed by the taxi organisations, Cape Amalgamated Taxi Associations (CATA) and the Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations (CODETA).
"We've narrowed the gap on the differences between CODETA and CATA on the B97 route. We are on the verge of a breakthrough, but the ball is now in the government's court. We shared a report with them after the weekend talks," said Holomisa.
Mitchell recently closed the Bellville taxi rank for two months after talks with the two organisations - to end the conflict over the route between Bellville and Mbekweni, Paarl - did not reach an agreement.
Minibus taxis affiliated to CODETA and CATA had not been operating for almost three weeks, putting a further strain on buses and the collapsed Metrorail services, and leaving commuters with limited transport options.
Holomisa said the decision to close the Belville taxi rank had economic implications for the two taxi bodies.
Both CATA and CODETA said they were now willing to declare a ceasefire with immediate effect.
However, they called on the government to put the rank closure on hold for seven days to allow the current SAFTU/UDM facilitated process to be exhausted.
"Once seven days have passed, all problematic routes must be closed until an agreement is reached," the parties said, adding that the Somerset West and Mfuleni minibus taxi routes were also problematic.
Other recommended steps were put forward. This included a Peace Task Team that would negotiate a supplementary agreement to ensure that any future attack on CODETA or CATA would automatically mean that both parties took responsibility, and face hefty fines.
Three interim proposals including that the route be ceded to CATA to operate were put on the table.
In return CATA was willing to withdraw from all 25 to 27 other routes operating within Paarl
However, if the proposal was not acceptable to CODETA, CATA proposed that all of the 27 routes within Paarl and between Mbekweni/Paarl and Belville be operated on a 50/50 split.
The third option would be that 37 taxis from CATA and 20 taxis from CODETA should be allowed to operate between Belville and Paarl on condition that CODETA was allowed to operate alone in Mbekweni.
"CATA should not operate between Mbekweni and Paarl for security reasons at least for a period not exceeding three months," according to the recommendations.
Holomisa said the parties also urged the government to find security measures to ensure safety of drivers, operators, and passengers.
The taxi bodies committed to working with the government to resolve the conflict.
Mitchell said he would make a statement once he had fully studied the recommendations.
Mbalula's office did not respond to questions.
Meanwhile an arbitration process was underway and was set down to conclude on July 29.