14 May 2018

South Africa: Cosatu Calls for National Government to Declare Cape Town's Transport a Disaster Situation

press release

Cosatu calls on the national government to declare the public transport system in Cape Town, a disaster situation. The transport situation is going from bad to worse, with deaths escalating from the transport related situation. The manifestation of the transport problem is now leading to racial tensions that will see low scale wars breaking out in communities.

The levels of government in the Western Cape and the institutions tasked with managing transport situations are largely absent and completely quiet. Cosatu calls on bosses and workplaces to show extreme leniency to workers during this difficult time on transport.

The situation has manifested in the following ways in Cape Flats areas, where the majority of commuters reside:

Taxi violence in all areas is out of control with shootings and killings being a daily occurrence. This is in part related to the allocation of routes and the bad management of the taxi system. Delft has been closed down due to the violence and conflict linked to the routes, with commuters being the latest victims. Taxi routes must be taken away from the taxi bosses and allocated to the taxi drivers, so a more equitable management structure is put in place. There is an urgent need for a dedicated police task force to quell the violence and a closure of the ranks until sustainable solutions are found.

The busses are on a protracted strike due to the intransigence of the buss bosses who have delayed a settlement for a half a percent. Now they are denying the workers the back payment of the agreement reached, due to the greed of the bosses. There are no busses running for longer than 3 weeks and the situation has become desperate for people who depend on busses. The strike is leading to huge additional cost for workers, who have to pay inflated taxi prices, due to the absence of busses or trains.

The road system is the most congested in South Africa due to the mis management of the DA, in road infrastructure. So commuters have to be stuck in traffic jams for up to 3 hours on the average trip on the Cape Flats. When protest affects the functionality of the roads, then conflict between road users and protesters often leads to violence.

This crisis situation is being ignored by the City and Provincial Government bosses, who just disregard the needs of the black people from the Cape Flats. Cosatu calls for an urgent interventions from National Government to help address the various aspects of the crisis, which has now lead to a perfect storm in the transport crisis, facing Cape Town Commuters.

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