TRANSPORT CRISIS

ANC vows to rope in alliance partners to tackle ‘disgusting and shameful’ Cape taxi violence

By Suné Payne 21 July 2021

Golden Arrow buses stop alongside the N2 at Borcherds Quarry, near the entrance to Nyanga, to pick up workers who stood in long queues in the rain from early morning amid taxi violence on 21 July 2021. Golden Arrow suspended its services in some areas after a driver was shot in the mouth. (Photo: Gallo Images/Brenton Geach)

As the chaos continued on Wednesday in Cape Town, the provincial ANC said it planned to approach its traditional alliance partners in a bid to solve the crisis.

Suné Payne

The ANC in the Western Cape is calling on its alliance partners to help bring an end to ongoing taxi violence in the province.

During a virtual media briefing on Wednesday, 21 July, ANC Western Cape interim convenor Lerumo Kalako said: “No, Cata, no Codeta, you can’t kill our people… you can’t shoot indiscriminately.” 

Kalako said the party noted the police ministry’s intervention and added: “We have initiated an ANC alliance-led process of finding solutions to this situation and we call on the taxi and bus industry to find amicable ways in dealing with issues without leaving our people stranded and others dead as we have seen in the past few days.”

Since last week commuters have been faced with limited transport amid taxi-related violence. Taxi operations from both the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata) and the Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations (Codeta) have stopped. At the heart of the violence is a dispute between Cata and Codeta over the B97 route, which runs between Mbekweni in Paarl and the Bellville taxi rank. 

The violence has also led to an announcement by Golden Arrow Bus Services that limited services would be available in Cape Town after a bus driver was shot in the mouth on Monday morning.  

Golden Arrow buses pick up drenched workers on the N2 at Borcherds Quarry in Cape Town on 21 July 2021. (Photo: Gallo Images/Brenton Geach)

Both Cata and Codeta confirmed to Daily Maverick that they were not operating on Wednesday, but were due to meet Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula at 2pm to try to resolve the crisis. 

During the briefing Kalako said the party condemned the taxi war. 

“The shooting and killing of innocent passengers is extremely disgusting and shameful,” said Kalako, adding that while the taxi industry is a major contributor to the economy “we remain deeply worried about the approach that the industry, especially in the metro, takes when attempting to settle disputes”. 

Daily Maverick asked Kalako to explain what an “ANC alliance-led process” meant and if this could cause divisions between the party and the DA-led provincial government. Kalako said it included community structures and neighbourhood forums and other local structures to address the crisis with taxi associations. There is also an appeal from the party for the police to do their jobs and find those responsible for shootings and burning buses. 

“Our approach is to complement what the government is doing,” said Kalako. The party was looking at meeting communities and its alliance partners to address the violence, which affected commuters. “That’s our concern… commuters have nothing to do with the fight between Cata and Codeta.” 

“No, Cata, no Codeta, you can’t kill our people… You can’t attack buses with commuters. You can’t shoot indiscriminately. What will that do for your concern and demands?” 

The leader of the ANC caucus in the provincial legislature, Cameron Dugmore, added: “We are in daily contact with the MEC (Daylin Mitchell)… we are in daily contact with the premier… We are not politicising it, but the reality is the ANC is leading the process.” Dugmore reiterated that this was not a political endeavour, but rather the efforts of the ANC are “fully acknowledged by the national and provincial governments”. 

On Wednesday, the DA announced that an urgent joint meeting would take place in the provincial legislature between the transport and public works and community safety oversight committees. 

Workers stood in long lines since early morning, waiting for Golden Arrow buses to stop alongside the N2 at Borcherds Quarry in Cape Town, as taxi violence flared on 21 July 2021. (Photo: Gallo Images/Brenton Geach)

The party’s provincial spokesperson on transport and public works, Ricardo Mackenzie, said: “We are taking this matter extremely seriously, and together with the chairperson for community safety Reagen Allen, I have called for an urgent joint meeting of our two committees.” 

Mackenzie chairs the Western Cape legislature’s transport and public works oversight committee. 

In a statement, Mackenzie said the provincial departments of transport and public works and community safety as well as taxi umbrella body, the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco), and the South African Police Service, have been invited to the meeting, as has mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith. 

“At this stage, we applaud the efforts of the premier, MECs Daylin Mitchell and Albert Fritz, as well as Minister Fikile Mbalula, to bring leaders of the taxi industry to the negotiating table,” he said. 

No date has been announced for the meeting. DM

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All Comments 5

  • Lack of law and order in our beautiful Country as a result of the ANC leadership to be restored by the party that is responsible for the chaos…not buying it.

  • This is a great opportunity for the ANC to push PRASA to get the western Cape railways going again. This would help commuters to get to work and back safely and speedily. Or our National Government could hand the WC rail system to the Provincial Government and challenge them to do better.

  • “we are in daily contact with the premier… We are not politicising it, but the reality is the ANC is leading the process.” Let us move the battle front from KZN to Western Cape. Do I smell a new front.

  • Let me not be negative and applaud the coming together of politicians to solve the problem, which is long overdue.You are there to serve those who elected you,and I hope a inkling of this has hit home and it is not just political point scoring .These taxi wars have been cyclical and going on for ages since the 90 s,where was the cooperation then,look in the mirror and start being accountable to the humans who vote for you. This goes for all political parties.I know about cata and codeta wars cause I fought the violence on 3 or 4 different occasions since the 90 s.

  • it is a ridiculous situation, taxi operators holding the entire population at gun point. A failed scenario where state, province and city can’t organise and provide public transportation enabling people to travel safely to/from work, utter chaos, very bad indeed.

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