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.
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.
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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