Illegal blockade by minibus taxi mafia keeps over 5000 children home from school
It is unacceptable that the illegal blockade by minibus taxi associations escalated yesterday, with over 5 000 learners being prevented from attending school in Khayelitsha and neighbouring areas.
Minibus taxi association members have been threatening and harassing our contracted drivers to prevent them from transporting learners. This is an attempt to muscle in on transport contracts and to extort money from the Western Cape Education Department.
The minibus taxi mafia has now escalated their action, by threatening to “offload” learners from any transport not operated by the associations, including the cars of parents doing everything they can to get their children to school safely.
Parents now find themselves with the terrible choice between keeping their children safe, and making sure their education can continue. They should never have to choose between the two.
Our schools are also scrambling to make sure that learners do not fall too far behind, and we thank them for their efforts to develop work packs and keep in contact with parents.
What the minibus taxi associations are doing is a crime and cannot be justified by any of the false claims that they have made to the press.
Yesterday, we had a productive meeting with the provincial leadership of the South African Police Service (SAPS), and agreed to a plan of action that includes SAPS operations to end the criminality.
We are in the process of finalising an affidavit in order to lay a criminal complaint against the taxi associations with the SAPS, and are exploring the possibility of an urgent interdict to terminate the blockade.
We will not meet with any minibus taxi association until they end the blockade and stop terrorising our children and our parents.
Our government is united: we do not negotiate with a gun to our head.
Our first priority is, and will remain, the best interests of the children of our province, and the minibus taxi associations are acting directly against our learners’ interests.