An on-going mediation process is attempting to curb a spate of taxi violence killings, spurred by tensions between the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (CATA) and the Congress for Democratic Taxi Associations (CODETA). The process, hosted by the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO), saw all relevant role players in the industry gather at the Langa Civic Centre on Thursday for an intensive round of peace negotiations.
It follows on from discussions that began in Worcester last week, with both sides keen to address a problem that has far too often escalated to the point of violence. Statistics from SAPS and the Western Cape Department of Transport and Works have tracked 64 taxi violence related murders since April 2012.
Transport MEC Donald Grant, who addressed yesterday’s gathering on the need to stem out the root causes of the violence, commended both SANTACO and the leaderships of both CATA and CODETA for opting to sit around the table to address the issue.
“They’ve acknowledged, and we all know that there is contestation on the routes, which leads to conflict. The best way around this is for the industry to look at their own self-regulation so that government doesn’t have to have a heavy hand,” he stated.
Grant said the appeal from the parties involved was for government to prevent any cull of those currently operating in the industry, while also finding alternative routes for them to operate on. This is however likely to be a problem, with 70% of taxi routes in the city already deemed “overtraded”.
“It is the function of the City to determine supply and demand on particular routes. We basically look at the legalities thereafter; making sure taxis are properly registered and so on and then operating permits are issued,” he said, suggesting there was little the department could do to try and address the contestation of routes.
But while the ultimate decision on how many taxis would be operating on the roads would lie with the City of Cape Town, Grant said the department would be working closely with them to try and tackle the issue.
In addition, the department would also assist SAPS in investigating murder cases related to the taxi violence, aided by the taxi industry. Grant was particularly concerned that of 64 noted murders, only one has seen a successful conviction.
“The fact that the industry themselves are saying the killings must stop is a wonderful step forward, and I commend the leadership of the taxi industry for that initiative,” he added.
A follow-up meeting is scheduled for the 15th October, with Grant hopeful that the matter will be put to bed by then. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)