Minister Mitchell closes Route B97 between Paarl and Bellville
Media Release by Daylin Mitchell, Western Cape Minister of Transport and Public Works
In terms of Section 91(2) of the National Land Transport Act of 2009, I officially announce my decision to close Route B97 between Mbekweni/Paarl and Bellville. This will be effective from Monday, 26 July 2021.
My decision follows the publication of my notice in the Government Gazette dated 9 July (Government Notice 416 of 2021) that Bellville and Paarl are areas in respect of which extraordinary measures in terms of Section 91 may be made. I have carefully considered all submissions in this respect, and after consultation with the SAPS, the Premier, and the National Minister of Transport, believe this to be the correct course of action.
Route 97 is currently the main cause of conflict between CATA and CODETA, who both claim to have the right to operate on the route. Despite ongoing attempts to assist the two associations to find a lasting solution, they have yet to do so.
Therefore, as of Monday 26 July, the following will apply on the route:
- Under section 91(2)(a) of the Act, all routes and ranks, including lanes and long distance route facilities situated at the Bellville Public Transport Interchange are closed for the operation of any minibus taxi-type service for a period of two months, commencing on 26 July 2021
- Under section 91(2)(b) of the Act, any operating licence or permit authorising any minibus taxi-type service on a closed route or at a closed rank contemplated in paragraph (a) is suspended for the duration of the closure period.
- Under section 91(2)(c) of the Act, and subject to paragraph (e), no person may, for the duration of the closure period, undertake any minibus taxi-type services on a closed route or at a closed rank contemplated in paragraph (a), or in terms of an operating licence or permit suspended as contemplated in paragraph (b).
- Under section 91(5) of the Act, a current minibus taxi operator who contravenes this Notice, or fails to comply therewith, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of R5000 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months.
- Under section 91(6) of the Act, a temporary permit may be issued to an operator of a motor vehicle, minibus or minibus to operate a minibus service taxi-type service, or to an operator of a bus to operate a bus service,on a closed route or at a closed rank during the closure period in a substitution for the prohibited services contemplated in paragraph (a).
We can longer be held hostage by a criminal few who continue to undermine the interests of many law-abiding taxi drivers, and who threaten both the lives and livelihoods of our residents. I have sworn an oath to act in the best interests of our people, and will continue to do so, using every mechanism available to me.
The Western Cape Government will continue to work with the SAPS, and other security stakeholders, including the SANDF, Metro Police and traffic officers to ensure that commuters are protected.
Premier Alan Winde and Minister Mbalula have now both requested additional SANDF support for the SAPS, which has already drastically scaled up their presence in hotspots.
As a result of these efforts, we have seen no further incidents of taxi related violence, and Golden Arrow Bus Services are, as of this morning, operating 95% of its more than 1000 strong fleet.
I want to be clear that the Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works will continue to offer the venue and the independent mediators necessary to assist these two associations in finding a resolution, and we join fellow citizens in urging these associations to put the best interests of our communities first.
I will also make an announcement over the weekend about travel arrangements for commuters in the affected route.
Spokesperson for Minister Daylin Mitchell
Cell: 082 953 0026