TAXI VIOLENCE: Ongoing efforts to find firm resolution to end conflict
Media Release by Daylin Mitchell, Western Cape Minister of Transport and Public Works
As government, we have tried in good faith for a number of weeks to find a solution to bring an end to the ongoing taxi violence we are experiencing in and around Cape Town.
My department and I have been working tirelessly to restore dignity and safety to the public transport system. In working towards this objective, the Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works engaged in a process to uncover the root causes behind the violent conflict while working with all stakeholders to achieve a lasting peace and stability in the minibus taxi industry.
These initiatives include the provision of independent mediators and venues to get rival taxi ‘motherbodies’, CATA and CODETA to find common ground. These negotiations have been going on since Thursday 8 July.
The major bone of contention is the transporting of commuters on Route B97 between Mbekweni in Paarl and Bellville. Both CATA and CODETA claim ownership of the route and the matter is currently in arbitration.
Given this ongoing violence, and the threat it posts to both the life and livelihood of our residents, I published a notice in terms of Section 91 of the National Land Transport Act on 9 July, which will allow me to consider the closure of routes and ranks, in consultation with SAPS. The public comment for this process closed on 16 July and I am now applying my mind to the submissions, with the aim of coming to a decision this week.
I will inform the media and the public as soon as the decision is made, in line with this statutory process.
There have been 83 taxi related murders and 56 taxi related attempted murders in the Western Cape since the start of the calendar year, which deserves our strongest condemnation. The conduct of a small group of criminals is holding the residents of Cape Town hostage, and we will not stand for it.
That is why the Western Cape Government continues 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 has also requested additional SANDF support to the SAPS, which has already drastically scaled up their presence in hotspots.
I am happy to see that as a result of these efforts there has been no reported taxi related violence in the last day, and that Golden Arrow Bus Services has been able to scale-up to 80% of their fleet, providing much needed support to our communities.
Going forward, we will continue to offer the venue and the independent mediators necessary to assist these two associations in finding a resolution. But we will not sit back and do nothing, while our commuters suffer. We will not allow this status quo to continue. I will be making further announcements soon on our plans in this regard.
Spokesperson for Minister Daylin Mitchell
Cell: 082 953 0026