Attempts to politicize taxi violence in Delft shortsighted
Statement by Donald Grant, Minister of Transport and Public Works
It is unfortunate that according to various media reports there have been attempts to politicize the recent taxi violence in parts of the greater Cape Town area. The violent killings of a number of people and the disruption to the daily transport arrangements of hard-working residents should not be the subject of party political point scoring.
The level of misrepresentation of the facts in the reported information is also regrettable. This misinformation could easily undermine the work being done by the agencies responsible for the regulation of the industry as well as for law enforcement.
It is misleading to withhold the fact that legal taxi operators, including CODETA members, had approached me and my Department with an urgent request to consider closing down ranks and routes in Delft. This came after an increase in cold blooded murders of their drivers some two weeks ago. There has been constant communication between myself and the industry, including several face to face meetings.
The notice of intention to declare extraordinary measures in a violence torn area is a last resort. It is meant to draw enforcement agencies into an area to implement measures to prevent bloodshed at ranks and on routes where the lives of innocent commuters are placed at risk as a result of the unlawful and murderous actions of unscrupulous taxi owners and drivers.
These real dangers are not resolved by political parties seeking to plaster over the real causes in order to gain short term mileage while leaving the root causes of the violence untouched.
Elements of both CATA and CODETA chose the path of violence without any regard for the lives of their members, that of their rivals or of their passengers.
Until all taxi associations and leaders agree not to participate in unlawful operations, route invasions and extorting 'taxes' along routes through their illegal patrols, the cycle of violence will simply flare up again, with no regard for past agreements.
The Department of Transport and Public Works, together with the SAPS and traffic enforcement authorities will continue to ensure that laws are respected and enforced. Illegally operating vehicles will be impounded. The murderers and hitmen, together with those who instruct them, will be brought to book.