Parties involved in the conflict by the taxi industry in Cape Town have agreed to arbitration after the initial mediation process collapsed.
In recent months, there has been ongoing violence on route B97 that has resulted in fatalities on the part of operators, drivers and commuters, with concomitant property damaged.
The root cause of the conflict in the Western Cape stems from disagreement between the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (CATA) and the Cape Organisation for the Democratic Taxi Associations (CODETA).
In an effort to resolve the matter, government has engaged both CATA and CODETA, as well as the provincial leadership of the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) to find a sustainable long-term solution.
In a joint statement on Monday, the Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, and Western Cape MEC for Transport and Public Works, Daylin Mitchell, outlined the following measures that will be implemented:
- All legal operating licence holders for routes to and from Mbekweni, except for route B97, must commence services, as authorised by their operating licences or face the legal consequences.
- All associations must instruct their members to return to service in line with the authorities issued with their operating licences and must do so in a manner that is safe for the public. The Registrar's Office will send out a letter to all associations communicating this instruction. All routes will be monitored and action will be taken against associations and individual operating licence holders who are in breach of this instruction.
- When route B97 is opened, only legal operating licence holders will be allowed to operate and will serve the full route from the authorised ranks and terminals.
- Affected municipalities will be requested to place a moratorium on the issuance of new operating licences and applications for additional authorities on all affected routes whilst also rationalising these services.
- If the affected municipalities indicate the need for additional services on route B97, operating licences will be apportioned in accordance with the arbitration award.
- The Department of Transport will meet with the appointed arbitrator to expedite the arbitration process and to issue an award within the shortest possible timeframe.
- The Registrar's Office will continue with the section 7(A)(20) inquiry to deal with the possible violations of the Code of Conduct and Standard Constitution and to deal with the issue of floor crossing, as well as to determine if the affected associations are still properly constituted in terms of applicable legal prescripts. The Registrar's Office will make recommendations to the Provincial Regulatory Entity (PRE) in respect of actions against affected operating licence holders;
- Should there be further acts of violence, all affected routes operated by the two associations will be closed for all minibus-taxi operations for a period determined by the MEC and affected operating licences will be suspended. In addition, both associations will be suspended or deregistered by following the prescribed process. This will be done in the interest of public safety and other operators will be authorised to provide replacement services.
- Any other associations found to be involved in or promoting violence will similarly be suspended or deregistered by following the prescribed processes.
- Any association that henceforth affiliates to a region or so-called 'mother body' outside of its geographical area will be suspended by the Registrar's Office.
- Government will request the South African Police Service (SAPS) to open an inquiry in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act to investigate the on-going violence and to prioritise reported cases.
- Law enforcement capacity and deployment will be reviewed and strengthened in the affected areas.
- Any allegations of corrupt activities or clear acts of favouritism on the part of law enforcement or regulatory officials will be investigated based on evidence submitted by complainants.