SANTACO must act to bring unnecessary strike to an end
Statement by Donald Grant, Minister of Transport and Public Works
It is clear to me from their utterances today, that the self-styled Minibus Taxi Industry Task Team (‘Task Team’) has no intention of putting an end to today’s unnecessary strike that has once again displaced thousands of commuters.
Instead they are set on continuing to spread misinformation in order to sow further division. This is the same group that organised a ‘taxi strike’ on Monday 18 September 2017, which resulted in injuries to innocent commuters and millions of Rands of damage to property, including the burning of 3 buses and several private vehicles.
It is reported that two GABS buses have already been burnt as of this morning, and various incidents of intimidation have been taking place at various transport interchanges.
The Western Cape Government strongly condemns such actions, and will support law enforcement authorities in holding those responsible accountable.
At the heart of the dispute are internal matters within the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO), which have been the subject of a protracted legal dispute between SANTACO and this so-called ‘Task Team’.
We believe that the main bone of contention is the suspension, by SANTACO, of two of their members who form part of the ‘Task Team’. This is believed to be reason behind the group’s insistence on a pre-elective conference, whereat the group would seek to have the suspension of these two members set aside.
Judge Farlam was clear in his finding that this matter was an internal matter and fell outside the ambit of the Department of Transport and Public Works.
This matter and other issues, raised by the ‘Task Team’, have been addressed and responded to by my department (as detailed in the previous statement , issued Friday, 3 August 2018).
The effects of these internal disputes, which date back to over a year ago, have again disrupted and endangered commuters and have already resulted in their displacement and the destruction of public transport assets.
My officials and enforcement authorities remain on high alert, and will not hesitate to take the necessary action against people who break the law.
The Provincial Taxi Registrar has, last week, already reached out to all taxi associations requesting them to refrain from withdrawing their services, intimidating other operators and damaging vehicles and property.
Any violation of the Code of Conduct for minibus-taxi operators and/or operating licence conditions may result in the deregistration of the association and the withdrawal of operating licences.
It is entirely unacceptable that a handful of individuals think that they can hold the citizens of the Western Cape to ransom. I call on SANTACO to exercise leadership in this matter, and to do all that they can restore the service to the commuters and put an end to this senseless strike. There is no legitimate or legal basis for this disruption.