Media release by the WCG on efforts to ensure the safety of commuters
The Western Cape Government held a digital press conference today on its efforts to ensure the safety of commuters in the greater Cape Town region following disruptions in the taxi industry caused by last week’s violence.
Premier Alan Winde said: “It is important that we continue to keep our residents informed about our efforts to ensure violence is prevented, and our plans to get our transport system working efficiently. I want to acknowledge the SAPS, and other law enforcement agencies, who have worked hard to bring back relative calm after last week’s violence. But we acknowledge calm is not enough. We need to find a solution that allows all our residents to get to work, to health facilities and to school safely. Where there is violence, there must be arrests and successful prosecution. The safety of our residents is non-negotiable.”
During the briefing, it was announced that the arbitration proceedings between the relevant taxi associations restarted at 10:00 am today, as part of the now legal process to resolve the dispute over routes.
It was also announced that the notice for formal proceedings has been sent to the relevant associations following the initiation of a process to sanction or suspend them. This process was initiated on 7 July 2021 and the hearings are expected to begin on 4 August 2021.
In addition, the Western Cape Government’s approach to the High Court for a declarator on the SANTACO Constitution regarding regions and motherbodies is set to be made by the end of this month.
Speaking to the Department of Transport and Public Works ongoing efforts, Minister Daylin Mitchell said: “Today is the second day that the B97 minibus taxi route between Mbekweni and Bellville has been closed. It will remain closed for two months in terms of Section 91 of the National Land Transport Act. This action became necessary after concerted efforts to stop violence between operators on the B97 route affiliated to CATA and CODETA failed.”
Minister Mitchell continued: “I took this decision in the interest of protecting the commuter, after a surge in taxi-related shootings and murders in and around Cape Town over the last few months. My Department is working together with other Departments and SAPS on an inter-governmental, cooperative approach to deal with the cycle of violence that has claimed the lives of 83 people since the beginning of this calendar year. We draw a line in the sand as far as criminal behaviour is concerned.”
Following the closure of the route, the following additional public transport has been provided:
- Additional Golden Arrow bus services have been made available between Paarl and Bellville.
- Metrorail increased running trains on the Northern Line from 14 to 45 units including the Malmesbury and Worcester services.
- Metrorail’s shuttle service will offer 15 trips from Wellington to Kraaifontein and the service between Kraaifontein and Cape Town via Monte Vista will operate 26 trips.
Minister Mitchell added: “My Department will review our current financial agreements with Santaco - and CATA and Codeta, in particular, and have had their funding suspended (previously received via the Blue Dot incentive programme), as a result of the violence associated with these regions."
The Minister of Community Safety, Albert Fritz, has commended all safety stakeholders for their efforts during this time and noted that the Court Watching Brief unit is currently monitoring cases related to the arrests of those suspected of taxi-related violence and whose cases are on the court roll.
Minister Fritz said, "We must acknowledge the hard work of the SAPS and the various law enforcement stakeholders who have served as their support during this time; for stabilizing the situation and restoring calm and order to our roads. They have really worked well together, and once we get through this trying time, I look forward to applying a similar approach of coordination and cooperation to tackling the other crime and violence ills in our Province.”
The Provincial Commissioner, Lt Gen Thembisile Patekile responded to say that on: “Tuesday morning, 27 July 2021 between 6:00 and 8:30, five taxis were impounded by the integrated forces on the closed B97 route for either operating without permit or contravention of permit stipulations. Five fines ranging from R2500 to R7000 were imposed on the drivers. The total amount for the fines issued is R30 500.”
“After physical assessment of the situation at transport hubs in Mbekweni, Bellville, Khayelitsha and Nyanga on Monday, 26 July 2021 coupled with latest situational reports (27 July 2021) from all identified hotspots within the Province, the situation remains relatively calm. No incidents have been reported to the police. However, the integrated deployments are still in place and remain on high alert. We cannot afford to be complacent!” continued Lt Gen Patekile.
In addition, SAPS in the Western Cape have:
- Conducted vehicle checkpoints (VCPs) and cordon and searches in addition to the static deployments.
- Confiscated three illegal firearms were confiscated in Delft, Nyanga and Khayelitsha yesterday. Three suspects are appearing in various courts today for illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.
- Issued numerous fines for the contravention of the Disaster Management Act regulations as well as in terms of the Road Traffic Management Act.
In conclusion, the Premier of the Western Cape said: “We remain fully committed to finding a lasting solution to this impasse, using every power available to us. We will also continue to work with our counterparts across all levels of government to ensure that violence is prevented. We urge residents to report any incidents of extortion or intimidation by these criminals to the SAPS immediately. The SAPS have indicated that they will immediately act, and action arrests.”
Should residents wish to report any instances of extortion, they can do so by calling: 021 466 0011