The Provincial Regulatory Entity (PRE) hearing to consider the possible cancellation of operating licences held by certain members of the Uncedo George Taxi Association has been postponed until the week of 1 February 2016, with a number of interim deadlines to ensure the process remains on track.
The hearing has been called in terms of section 79(2)(b) of the National Land Transport Act, 2009, after members of the association or their employees were implicated in violent protest action in George on 19 August this year. During the protest, roads were barricaded, buses set alight, and CCTV cameras and police vehicles damaged.
The holders of the affected licences were summoned in their personal capacities to answer charges at a hearing in Oudtshoorn on 26 October 2015 that they, or people in their employ, had violated their licence conditions.
The representative of the affected operators asked the PRE to postpone the matter to give the operators more time to secure money for legal representation, and to give them time to prepare legal heads of argument.
Although the PRE, supported by representatives of the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO), placed on record its concern that most operators return to the Eastern Cape during the December/ January period, and that this is also peak season for long distance operations, it agreed to a postponement. The PRE asked the parties to find agreement on a new date at the Oudtshoorn hearing, but were unable to do so before time ran out.
The PRE undertook to deliberate on the matter and to inform affected parties of the new hearing date no later than 30 October 2015, which it duly did.
The PRE has advised the parties that the hearing will now take place from 1 to 5 February 2016, that this is a final postponement, that no further indulgences will be granted, and that the following timeline must be adhered to:
The PRE/ complainants must make requested documents and video footage available to the defendants or their legal representatives no later than 30 November 2015.
The parties have agreed to the matter being heard in the week of 1 February at the Eden Sports Academy in Oudtshoorn. All affected operators will be required to sign an attendance register. If an affected operator is not present at the hearing, the PRE will proceed with the matter in his or her absence.