Cancellation of taxi operating licence sends strong message to rogue operators

14 June 2023
Mobility Department

Today, the Western Cape Mobility Department’s Provincial Regulatory Entity (PRE) confirms the cancellation of a mini-bus taxi operating licence. This follows an investigation into complaints of a minibus taxi driver endangering the lives of passengers and other road users while attempting to escape traffic officials at a routine check point in George on 18 April 2023.

The incident – involving a high-speed chase – was video captured by a passenger inside the vehicle and went viral on social media. The PRE also received complaints from George Municipal Traffic Services and the Provincial Taxi Registrar regarding the driver’s contemptuous behaviour.

Our Mobility Department called an inquiry into the matter which allowed both the complainants and the taxi operator to present what transpired on that day. This decisive action supports our commitment to ensure safer roads for commuters and serious consequences for those who put peoples’ lives at risk.

The driver of the vehicle was stopped at a routine check point but refused to open any windows or doors to engage traffic officials. After making a call on his mobile phone, he drove off with municipal traffic officers in pursuit. The high-speed chase ended on the Thembalethu bridge where traffic was gridlocked. He eventually abandoned the vehicle and ran off into the residential area. In his attempt to get away, he drove into oncoming traffic and disregarded several stop and other traffic signs. In the video, passengers can be heard screaming, praying and begging the driver to stop, but he ignored these impassioned pleas. He was later arrested.

Upon further inspection, officials found that a copy of the operator card was displayed with incorrect information. The vehicle was also off-route. This type of route invasion is one of the main reasons for conflict and instability in the public transport industry.

The outcome of the PRE’s inquiry was formally communicated to the minibus taxi operator on 12 June 2023. Acting PRE Chairperson, Mr. Fadhiel Jattiem, confirmed that the process was completed and that a decision was taken to withdraw (cancel) the affected operating licence.

The PRE’s approach is to first correct the behaviour of operators and drivers.  However, in certain cases, the PRE is compelled to exercise its most extreme statutory powers to set a good precedent for the Western Cape and to ensure that passengers are treated with respect and courtesy. We have a duty to rid the system of operators and drivers who refuse to comply with the law and actively make our roads more dangerous for everyone.

Section 79 of the National Land Transport Act (NLTA) allows the PRE to withdraw or suspend an operating licence where either the holder or an employee of the holder has been convicted of an offence under the NLTA or other relevant laws. Similarly, an operating licence may either be withdrawn or suspended for contraventions of the conditions of the operating licence or permit.

The Western Cape PRE is currently the only regulatory entity using these provisions on a regular basis to effectively manage the public transport system. From the beginning of 2023, the PRE has held 169 section 79 hearings. This has resulted in 105 operating licences being amended to prevent route-related tension, one suspension, 28 warnings issued, and 10 operating licences being cancelled for misconduct.

Specific conditions are imposed on operating licences to give effect to safe and dignified transport. Every operator has a duty to comply with the authority conferred by the operating licence and its conditions.

In this case, the operating licence and specific vehicle was leased to another person who had not been vetted by the PRE. This compromises the safety of passengers and is illegal in terms of section 77 of the NLTA. At the time of the incident, the vehicle was operating contrary to the route conditions of the operating licence. The hearing considered with priority the violation of several provisions of the National Road Traffic Act (NRTA) and the fact that the driver disobeyed a direct instruction from officials who are appointed to uphold the law.

This ruling to cancel this operating licence will also have an adverse impact on future applications made by the licence holder, given that the PRE is duty bound to consider previous offences.

Holders of operating licences must manage their businesses responsibly and monitor the behaviour of drivers. This incident could have had fatal consequences. The conduct of the driver compromised the safety of the passengers and other road users. Operators must understand that they have a duty to appoint reputable and properly qualified drivers and that they will be held indirectly liable for any violations committed by a driver related to their employment.

Further action needs to be taken against the driver of the vehicle. We call on the Courts to suspend his driving licence or disqualify him from holding such a licence.

We have a duty to monitor and oversee public transport in the province and to ensure a safe and dignified environment for commuters. We will not allow any operator to compromise the safety of the public and there will be grave consequences for any operator or driver who disregards the rule of law.

Media queries:

Rebecca Campbell

Spokesperson for Minister Ricardo Mackenzie

076 783 2583 or