Taxi Violence a Concern to the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Government
26 June 2014
Joint Statement by Brett Herron, the City’s Mayoral Committee Member: Transport for Cape Town, Councillor and Donald Grant, Minister of Transport and Public Works
The City of Cape Town (the City) and the Western Cape Government (WCG) will respond formally to the Memorandum of Demands delivered by the Two Oceans Regional Taxi Council within seven days. In the meantime, however, we would like to clarify how the different roleplayers fit into the picture and elaborate on what is currently being done both to reduce taxi violence and to provide efficient and affordable transport to the residents of the Cape.
First and foremost, we are deeply concerned about the continued prevalence of violent crime in the taxi Industry within the city boundaries, and are thus doing everything within our power to ensure the protection of residents and taxi drivers alike. The City’s Metro Police and Traffic Services have been deployed to the area to assist the South African Police Service (SAPS) in their duties since April 2014. Since operations began, a total of three illegal firearms have been confiscated and seven taxi drivers have been arrested for driving while intoxicated. Furthermore, City Traffic Services has impounded 50 taxis that had been operating illegally on routes in these areas.
In addition, the Western Cape Government’s Provincial Regulatory Entity (PRE) has acted in terms of the legislative framework to suspend the Vrygrond Taxi Association (VTA) administratively for three months, as a direct consequence of their alleged involvement in route invasions and intimidation. The decision to suspend followed the conclusion of two inquiries into the matter, conducted by the PRE in June 2013 and April 2014. It is thus dishonest of the Two Oceans Regional Taxi Council to suggest that nothing is being done. This administrative suspension will be reconsidered after the three months have lapsed only if the Vrygrond Taxi Association adhere to the following conditions:
- To refrain from interfering with the legal operations of any association or its members in the Vrygrond area.
- To refrain from extorting money from legal operators plying their trade in the Vrygrond area.
- To refrain from invading any existing routes served by legal taxi associations.
- To refrain from preventing any legal operator from exercising his or her right in terms of a valid operating licence.
- To refrain from the recruitment of new members not holding a valid operating licence.
- To refrain from providing minibus-taxi services without holding valid operating licences or permits.
- To refrain from providing minibus-taxi type services contrary to the terms and conditions of operating licences.
- To refrain from intimidating and threatening public transport operators.
- To coexist with Retreat Taxi Association (RTA) and Steenberg Taxi Association (STA) in the Vrygrond area, and to refrain from preventing members of the RTA and STA from using the Vrygrond taxi facility.
A task team, comprising representatives from the City, WCG, VTA, STA and RTA, will be immediately set up to monitor whether the VTA is adhering to these conditions. Failure to comply will result in more drastic action being taken by the office of the Provincial Transport Registrar (again, in terms of the legislative framework).
While the City and Western Cape Government take our role in the taxi industry very seriously, and have done all we can (within our power) to facilitate the resolution of this conflict, it must be noted that we cannot resolve disputes without assistance from role-players in the industry. Representatives of SANTACO and CODETA met with the previous Transport Minister, Robin Carlisle, on 20 May 2014. At that meeting they gave an undertaking to attempt to resolve the dispute with the VTA and the illegal operators. It is as yet unclear what progress has been made in this regard, however it is imperative that these associations play their part. At the end of the day, it falls to the disputing parties to work out an acceptable way forward, and thus end the violence. We would therefore like to call on them to ensure they are doing so.
Councillor Brett Herron
Mayoral Committee Member: Transport for Cape Town, City of Cape Town
Tel: 021 400 1298
Cell: 082 518 3264
Spokesperson for Donald Grant, Minister of Transport
Tel: 021 483 8954
Cell: 084 233 3811