South Africa News

Santaco: Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis seeks to portray taxi operators as villains

The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) on Friday said remarks by Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis, asserting that the offer which has now been accepted by taxi operators after days of a violent taxi stay away was on the table even last week, are unfortunate and untrue.

“It is not a fair statement and it is also disappointing because it brings into question whether these negotiations and discussions were having, how authentic are they if such kind of statements can be made by the mayor,” Mandla Hermanus chairperson of Santaco Western Cape spoke to broadcaster Newzroom Afrika.

“That seeks to portray us as the villains.”

He said if the offer that has now been accepted by Santaco was the city’s proposal, there would not have been need for the eight-day stay away.

The publication reported on Thursday that Santaco had called off the stay away by thousands of minibus taxi drivers.

The strike followed an impasse between the union and City of Cape Town over the clampdown by city officials against traffic offenders. Taxi operators had their vehicles impounded, with the city officials insisting they would only be released after operators paid the impoundment fee.

Commuters breathed a sigh of relief after days of chaotic scenes as thousands were stranded, and some had to walk long distances in the absence of taxi services.

On Thursday, Hermanus confirmed the news and said that they would “go back to the task team to finalise the issue they had not yet agreed on.”

Hermanus added that they were able to agree on the fundamental issues.

He also apologized to the public for all the distress and inconvenience that the stay away caused.

The announcement comes after Santaco made an about-turn earlier on Thursday and agreed to meet with the City of Cape Town officials to discuss issues around the impounding of its vehicles.

The call for a stay away by the taxi association escalated into violence and chaos on the city’s roads.

-IOL

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