Violent Conflict in Westlake Results in the Shooting of Taxi Operators
On Monday 13 April 2015 complaints surfaced of illegal taxi operators infiltrating routes in the Westlake area. I immediately informed the legal operators on the routes, members of the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (CATA) Westlake Taxi Association, that action would be taken against all illegal operators who were operating without operating licences, as well as those operating contrary to the conditions of their operating licences and the Code of Conduct of taxi associations.
On that same day, I personally inspected the area and observed first hand that operators from the Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations (Codeta) were indeed operating on routes for which they did not have valid operating licences. A Joint Operations Centre (JOC) was established by the SAPS, Provincial Traffic, Metro Police and the City of Cape Town’s Traffic Services to address the issue of illegal operations, resulting in a coordinated campaign that led to the impoundment of 16 illegally operating minibus taxis.
I wish to thank the enforcement authorities for their swift and coordinated response to the illegal operations, intimidation, threats, and the violent acts of a small group of criminals.
I also instructed the Provincial Regulatory Entity (PRE) and the Provincial Transport Registrar to meet with the two ‘mother-bodies’, CATA and Codeta, on Tuesday 14 April 2015. At this meeting, the leadership of these two associations were asked to investigate the actions of their members and were reminded of the consequences that will follow any contravention of operating licence conditions, or the Constitution and Code of Conduct of taxi associations.
I was therefore bitterly disappointed to hear of the shooting of taxi owners, Youngman Fodo and Thembinkosi Matyolo, this morning. On behalf of the Western Cape Government, I extend my wishes for their speedy recovery and confirm that my Department will offer its full support to the SAPS in investigating these shootings, and bringing the perpetrators to book.
The Department of Transport and Public Works, the City of Cape Town and the SAPS will not be deterred from enforcing the law and continuing to impound vehicles operating illegally. I have instructed the Transport Registrar and the PRE to investigate all cases where vehicles were impounded or found to be operating illegally, with the view of taking disciplinary action against operators and associations. Such action will include the continued impoundment of vehicles and the withdrawal of operating licences.
I have also made it clear that, should illegal operations and violent conflict continue or escalate, I will strongly consider taking action in terms of Section 91 of the National Land Transport Act, which allows me to take extraordinary measures in declared areas, including measures such as:
- Closing routes or ranks
- Suspending operating licences
- Suspending associations
I wish to appeal to legal operators and associations in the area not to take the law into their own hands, but to assist the SAPS in their investigations so that the perpetrators of criminal acts can be brought to justice as speedily as possible.