South Africa: Masiphumelele's R15-Million New Taxi Rank Cannot Operate

City says taxi association has refused to sign a memorandum of agreement

The City of Cape Town and taxi owners in Masiphumelele are at odds over a new R15-million taxi rank. The rank, completed in May, it is yet to become operational.

"The rank is there but it is not ours," says Sphiwe Mgaqelwa, a taxi owner. He said the taxi owners had wanted a new taxi rank for years, but they had not been involved in its planning.

"During the construction we wanted to engage with the City, but it seemed like we were hindering the process and we pulled back," he said.

However, before completion, he said the taxi owners did raise a number of issues, including the size of the boardroom, the number of cars that can fit into the rank, and the location of the toilets.

"We have about 180 cars and that rank can fit less than 50 cars at a time," said Mgaqelwa.

He said minibuses fitted, but the taxis also operated 24-seater buses which were not accommodated by the rank.

"They are telling us that we can only operate from 4am till 10pm at night in the new rank ... During festive season we work the whole night and our cars sleep at the rank because we do not have space at our houses," said Mgaqelwa.

Chairperson of Masiphumelele CATA taxi association Melikhaya Mandulo said the new rank also does not accommodate food vendors. "Those people will lose their source of income. We also saw that the City brought their own security guards and they told us we cannot bring the ones that we have hired because the rank belongs to the municipality. Those people will also be unemployed,"

He said there was a ticket office "which we have asked what it is for and got no answer". "It is clear to us that there are plans for MyCiti [buses to use the rank] that we are not told about because the rank seems to be made for that," said Mandulo.

Mayco Member for Transport Felicity Purchase confirmed that a feeder route is part of the future MyCiti plans for the area.

She said the Masiphumelele Taxi Association is refusing to sign a memorandum of agreement governing the use and operations of the facility. In the absence of such an agreement, the facility cannot be opened.

"The City has however secured a meeting with the Masiphumelele Taxi Association for Tuesday, 23 July 2019, in an attempt to resolve the current impasse."

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