Government has stepped in to resolve conflict in the Western Cape's taxi industry. The conflict has been ongoing for months, and has now led to several deaths.
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has been in talks with representatives of the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO), Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (CATA) as well as the Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations (CODETA).
Mbalula has called for the conflict to come to an end in the province, as several taxi operators, drivers and commuters have lost their lives in the process.
“We have not come here to recreate the wheel or duplicate the intervention of the Western Cape leadership. As national government, we have come to put politics aside for the sake of commuters and taxi industry players.
“We are here to reinforce the efforts of the province and ensure an intergovernmental, multidisciplinary and targeted approach to safety, which is the only way to restore law and order in the taxi industry,” Mbalula said on Monday.
Western Cape Premier, Alan Winde released a statement, speaking out against the taxi violence.
Winde is not impressed that taxi violence has continued, despite the provincial government's attempts to resolve route disputes.
The conflict recently affected many commuters in Cape Town who were left stranded at bus terminuses. This comes as the taxi conflict forced Golden Arrow buses to stop operating certain routes.
“We take our responsibility to our passengers very seriously and know that you depend on us to get home but today's events made it impossible. Our drivers are scared and many of them are not willing to get behind the wheel and we understand this.
’’We must therefore inform you that if possible it would be advisable to seek alternative transport for tomorrow morning. As soon as we have some indication of what is happening tomorrow, we will share it.’’ reads the statement.
Golden Arrow also said it will not be able to confirm when buses will be able to operate again and which routes will be affected.
Minister Mbalula has warned that those responsible for the violence affecting the transport industry will be arrested.
“While we remain concerned about the state of the taxi industry and are attentive to the grievances of operators and drivers, we are resolute: acts of criminality in the industry will not be tolerated. Those who choose to resolve industry disagreements through the barrel of a gun will not be shown leniency. They will face the full might of the law,” he said.