South Africa News

City of Cape Town urges minibus taxi industry to refrain from violence & disruptions

The City of Cape Town has issued a stern warning ahead of a potential strike by the minibus taxi industry in Cape Town to refrain from violence, attacks on other public transport operators, intimidation, and traffic disruptions.

Minibus taxi operators on Tuesday afternoon blocked roads around the Station Deck, preventing MyCiTi buses and other vehicles from exiting the central business district via Nelson Mandela Boulevard and the N2 highway.

This comes after Cape Town’s implementation of the new amended traffic by-law.

The law means traffic officials can now impound vehicles for transgressions such as not displaying a number plate correctly or not having a valid vehicle licence or driving licence.

“We know from hard learnt experience that strike action is often marked by intimidation of non-striking public transport operators, threats, violence and destruction of public and private property,” the City’s Mayco Member for Urban Mobility, Councillor Rob Quintas said.

“We respect the right to peaceful protest and strike action. However, I want to make it very clear that the City will not tolerate any thuggish behaviour,” Quintas said.

Quintas further said they will hold Santaco accountable for any losses and damages, and the general public has an equal right to get to work to earn a living and provide for their families.

He further called on the minibus-taxi industry to remain calm, and asked for Santaco to resume efforts of constructive engagement soonest.

Quintas said Santaco withdrew from engagements with the City and the Western Cape Government (WCG) last week.

The City and the WCG sent a joint letter to Santaco with proposals to address some of their concerns. These proposals included the impounding of vehicles operating illegally without operating licences, or contrary to their licence conditions.

“I urge Santaco to return to the negotiations so that we can resolve these issues in a peaceful manner, in the interest of all operators, the industry in general, those employed by the industry, and most importantly, the thousands of commuters. If need be, the City will apply for an interdict to protect human lives and public and private property,” Quintas said.

Quintas said the illegal blockade in the CBD during the peak hour period this afternoon is an indication that should the strike go ahead, it may impact the MyCiTi N2 Express routes between the Civic Centre MyCiTi station and Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha in particular.

“The City will make operational decisions in the interest of the safety and security of commuters and employees. We will closely monitor routes and law enforcement will conduct regular patrols. As a precautionary measure, MyCiTi commuters and those relying on the minibus-taxi industry for commuting are advised to anticipate delays in the coming days, and to plan accordingly,” Quintas added.

Last week, Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata) spokesperson Nkuleleko Sityebi, told Cape Argus that the City’s implementation of the newly amended traffic by-law was “unfair” to taxi owners.

Sityebi said the amended traffic by-law affects the taxi owners much more than the drivers, even though the owners are not the ones driving or making mistakes on the roads.

Meanwhile, Santaco stated that it did not want to appear to be encouraging drivers to violate the newly amended by-laws by the City of Cape Town, but that impounding vehicles was too severe.

-IOL

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