Taxi leaders involved in strike must refrain from violence

Premier Alan Winde has urged mini-bus taxi leaders affiliated with the South African National Taxi Council in the Western Cape (SANTACO-WC), who are behind a destructive province-wide strike, to return to the table and work with the Western Cape Government (WCG) and City of Cape Town (CoCT) to resolve long-standing issues that have confronted the industry.

“We recognise the important role the mini-bus taxi sector plays in the public transport industry and economy. But calling a strike, that has been accompanied by violence, is not the answer to resolving the grievances of operators and drivers. This will be a blow to our shared economic growth and will impact the poor the hardest,” he said.

Premier Winde expressed his disappointment at SANTACO-WC’s sudden withdrawal from the Minibus Taxi Task Team, which had been established with the CoCT to deal with issues raised by industry leaders. He added that long-term solutions are desperately needed but cannot be formulated under these circumstances. The Premier continued, “Violence is not the answer. You have the right to strike, but not to endanger the lives of residents and law enforcement officers and destroy property. The safety of commuters, the very lifeblood of the taxi industry, who are bearing the brunt of this violent protest action, is of paramount importance.”

“Unfortunately, we are currently investigating legal action, against the minibus taxi associations to interdict the violence associated with the strike. It is wholly unacceptable,” stated Premier Winde.

Western Cape Minister of Mobility Ricardo Mackenzie said, “I sincerely hope that SANTACO-WC will come back to the table so that we can get the work of the Minibus Taxi Task Team back on track. It is disappointing that industry leadership chose to suspend its participation in the Task Team, which was created in good faith to put our heads together and make progress on the pressing issues facing the industry. The solutions are not simple or instant, but we are tackling them regardless. We appreciate the complex challenges for minibus taxi operators, which link to the broader transportation crisis in South Africa. I trust that my colleagues in national government will treat the matter of industry formalisation as a matter of urgency and start fulfilling the commitments made in this regard.”

“Our Mobility Department is working hard alongside City officials to resolve ongoing challenges where the availability of operating licences has not enabled operations to meet the demand for transport. My team is also on the ground to address the issue of the B97 route as a matter of urgency. A survey has just been completed to ascertain the facts, which will determine any potential action to be taken as the regulator.”

The WCG remains committed to assisting the mini-bus taxi industry wherever it can. “An optimally functioning and regulated taxi industry will ultimately benefit us all,” said the Premier.

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