Judge Ian Farlam concludes mediation in minibus taxi dispute
Statement by Donald Grant, Minister of Transport and Public Works
Last week, retired Supreme Court of Appeals (SCA) Judge, Ian Farlam, concluded the two-week long mediation process which began immediately after his appointment on 2 October 2017.
The mediation process followed an agreement reached at the meeting that I called with conflicting minibus-taxi industry leaders. I initiated the mediation process with the goal of resolving the impasse between the disputing groups and to chart a way forward that would result in an inclusive and democratic election of a new industry leadership.
At the centre of the disagreement remained a dispute over internal constitutional processes that must be followed in the election of a new leadership.
Judge Ian Farlam, who was assisted by Advocate Tania Golden (Senior Counsel), held individual and joint sessions with the two conflicting groups between Monday, 2 October 2017, and Friday, 13 October 2017. During this time, both parties had the opportunity to present written and oral arguments to Judge Farlam, who spent time assessing all arguments before coming to a conclusion.
The two taxi groupings, the current SANTACO executive and the self-styled Minibus Taxi Industry ‘Task Team’, had agreed to the appointment of Judge Farlam and the terms of reference for a mediation process. The process was, in short, designed to explore, in relation to the upcoming regional and provincial elections, the key areas of concern, while identifying the root causes of disagreements – and finding long term solutions.
Both parties have agreed that the mediation process was conducted freely, and fairly.
The main issues can be summarised as follows:
- Whether the SANTACO (South African National Taxi Council) or WCPTC (Western Cape Provincial Taxi Council) constitution should be used as guide for the election of a new provincial council?
- Whether SANTACO Western Cape is to be regarded as a separate body from the WCPTC?
- Whether the term of office of the current executive lapsed in June 2017, four years after their election to office on 5 June 2013?
- Whether certain paragraphs contained in the SANTACO (National) Election Working Document drawn up by the Management Council of SANTACO (MANCO) are valid.
- Which provisions of the WCPTC constitution may apply in the event that the elections are managed in terms of the Santaco constitution.
I should like to thank Judge Ian Farlam and Advocate Tania Golden for the excellent work they have done to provide the necessary clarity on the issues raised by the conflicting parties, and in conducting a fair and impartial mediation process. We now look forward to the peaceful and fair election of the new SANTACO Western Cape leadership with whom we will work with constructively, as we have with the current and past leadership.
Based upon the findings, the mediation team have, in consultation with the parties involved, agreed to an electoral process and timelines.
I must also reiterate my previous calls for peace in the industry. Violent conflict and criminal acts will not be tolerated. The Western Cape Government condemns in the strongest possible terms the violence and destruction of property that followed the strike action on the 18th of September, and will do all it can to prevent such actions occurring in future.