Minister Madikizela meets taxi leaders to resolve Laingsburg impasse
I met with the leadership of the Western Cape taxi industry yesterday to engage them in resolving the challenges and concerns about the transportation of hundreds of workers to and from the wind farms in and around Laingsburg.
The meeting was attended by Laingsburg Municipality’s Mayor and Speaker, leaders of the SA National Taxi Council (SANTACO) Western Cape Branch, leaders from the Congress of Democratic Taxi Association (CODETA) and Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (CATA), representatives from the wind farms and officials from my Department.
Although I called the meeting to express my grave concerns with regard to the taxi industry leadership’s inability to stop the senseless taxi killings which have claimed over 25 people since the beginning of this year, it was also aimed at finding solutions to the impasse in Laingsburg where SANTACO and taxi associations under its umbrella have raised concerns about taxis from the Eastern Cape that are transporting workers to the wind farms.
Because there are no taxi association in Laingsburg, contractors approached private service providers and requested a transport service. This led to business owners sourcing transport from other provinces.
When the Western Cape taxi associations were made aware of this operation in Laingsburg, they raised concerns and this resulted in engagements with the municipality.
Taxis registered in the Eastern Cape were then given until 14 April to stop their service. Any such service requires the obtaining of the necessary permits from the local authority and province in which the service is rendered.
Industry players understand issues of jurisdiction. The Eastern Cape taxis were not supposed to be operating in the Western Cape in the first place. Many have left already and the remaining taxis are expected to leave this week.
There are allegations of taxis that changed registration numbers in order to do business in the Western Cape. But when this was discovered by the Western Cape members, local taxi operators stopped the operation.
I received calls last week from a number of people including one from the late CATA President, Mr Victor Wiwi last Wednesday. The Speaker of Laingsburg Municipality raised concerns that the situation in the town might become violent if is not resolved.
Mr Wiwi was gunned down two hours after he called and briefed me about a meeting he attended with the Laingsburg Municipality about this operation. I also addressed concerns about the targeted killings we are seeing in the Western Cape. These killings are a clear indication that there are syndicates who are targeting certain individuals in taxi associations.
My meeting with the stakeholders resolved that:
- As per discussions between Laingsburg Municipality, CODETA and CATA last week already, all taxis registered in Eastern Cape must stop their service.
- Western Cape Taxi Associations to work together to provide transport to and from the wind farms.
- All parties are in agreement to convene a meeting to resolve operational matters including the number of taxis that are needed to provide transport.
I want the operation led by Western Cape taxi associations to resume peacefully on Wednesday with all parties working together.
For us to partner meaningfully and to rollout the Blue Dot Taxi service, it is very important to work together and to address challenges. Government cannot in good conscience continue to partner with the taxi industry under the current conditions.
I am confident that we will soon be in a position to continue with the roll-out of the transport service to the wind farms that created hundreds of jobs for the people of the Western Cape.
Spokesperson for Minister Bonginkosi Madikizela
Tel: 021 483 8067
Cell: 082 953 0026