Premier Winde calls for additional SANDF boots on the ground to ensure the safety of commuters
Last week, the SANDF deployed a company of soldiers in the Western Cape as part of its countrywide response to unrest seen in some provinces.
After a conversation with the Provincial Police Commissioner, Lt. Gen. Patekile, I will officially request that this force be bolstered, with further boots on the ground to assist the SAPS in their response to ongoing taxi violence.
We cannot allow a group of thugs to continue to threaten the lives of our residents and to commit what is a clear act of economic sabotage by preventing people from getting to work safely. We will not stand for it.
The SAPS have also confirmed with me that they have already significantly increased their presence in all hotspot areas, including interventions through roadblocks, and unmarked vehicles to ensure that any person who is planning to disrupt transport modes is arrested. This is being supported through local law enforcement, Metro Police and traffic officers to ensure that the safety of our residents is maintained.
I welcome the announcement by the Provincial Police Commissioner that 12 arrests have so far been made, but we need many more. Any person who commits an act of violence must end up in jail, and be successfully prosecuted. I, therefore, echo the call for residents to come forward with information that can assist us in ensuring swift arrests. The Western Cape will also activate our Court Watching Brief Unit to ensure that any arrests linked to taxi violence are monitored in our courts.
In addition to this significant bolstering of policing in the Metro, our Department of Transport and Public Works (DTPW) is also taking a number of steps to resolve the ongoing dispute between CATA and CODETA.
- We have published a notice in terms of Section 91 of the National Land Transport Act, which will allow the MEC of Transport and Public Works to close routes and ranks, in consultation with SAPS. The public comment for this process has now been completed, and Minister Mitchell is applying his mind, with the aim of coming to a decision soon.
- The DTPW is exploring approaching the Western Cape High Court to empower the MEC to place SANTACO associations under administration.
- The DTPW has suspended its financial support agreement with SANTACO until such stage as the violence ends.
- We have suspended Blue Dot incentive payments to CATA and CODETA, as a direct result of the conflict.
- We are preparing to approach the Western Cape High Court seeking a declaratory order that ‘motherbodies’ (e.g. CATA, CODETA) are, like SANTACO Western Cape, confined to specific geographic areas.
- We will also seek an interdict against ‘motherbodies’ preventing them from establishing themselves outside demarcated geographical areas.
We will continue to do whatever we can to provide the space for these taxi associations to find a lasting resolution, including through the provision of independent mediators. But I must be clear that the status quo is unacceptable, and we will not sit by while the criminal conduct of a few undermines the entire taxi industry, and indeed our local economy.
I want to give the public my assurance that we will continue to do everything possible to ensure that our commuters can travel safely to work and will continue to keep you updated on these interventions over the next few days.