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Taxi association distances itself from EFF’s planned Western Cape ‘shutdown’ on Monday

Taxi association distances itself from EFF’s planned Western Cape ‘shutdown’ on Monday
Taxis in the CBD on 1 August 2023 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo: Gallo Images / ER Lombard)

The EFF has called for a ‘shutdown’ in the Western Cape on Monday, 2 October, over a number of issues, including ‘unjust taxi impoundments’. But, unlike the August taxi strike, the ‘shutdown’ isn’t being organised by the industry itself.

The Western Cape is preparing for another possible protest over issues in the taxi industry, on Monday, 2 October, following a call by the provincial structures of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

While the planned protest has caused panic among some commuters, the taxi industry’s leaders have said they are not part of organising the event. 

Daily Maverick explains some of the issues. 

Why is the EFF calling for a ‘shutdown’? 

The party has called for a “provincial shutdown” and will hold a protest at the Ndabeni Municipal Complex in Cape Town. It states, “The days of the DA-led City of Cape Town draconian rule and racism are OVER.” 

The “shutdown” will be about what the party calls “unjust taxi impoundments”, along with collapsed service delivery, high unemployment, racism, high electricity tariffs and load shedding.

Wait, another shutdown? 

In August, the province experienced a taxi strike that left commuters stranded for days and prevented many learners from going to school. Five people died in violence associated with the strike. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Western Cape taxi strike updates 

Commuters have sent panicked messages on social media and on WhatsApp groups asking if they will be affected by Monday’s planned protest. 

Will Santaco be part of the strike? 

Nceba Enge, the first deputy chairperson of the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) Western Cape, on Thursday said the EFF protest “is being organised by political parties; it’s not organised by Santaco”.

However, Enge said that if individuals within the industry were members of the EFF they could join the shutdown in their personal capacity. But he stressed that Santaco as an organisation was not a party to Monday’s protest.

One of the conditions of the taxi agreement signed by Santaco and local government authorities after the August strike is that if Santaco wants to strike it must give at least 36 hours’ notice. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Western Cape counts cost of taxi war as ordinary citizens left reeling from Santaco-DA-ANC political crossfire

In a subsequent statement on Friday, SANTACO Western Cape clarified that taxis would operate normally on Monday – but regions must make vehicles available if members want to join the political party-led march. SANTACO members are also free to join the march, it said.

But the organisation repeated itself to state that this planned march was not organised by them, but rather political parties.

What is expected during the ‘shutdown’? 

On Thursday, the City of Cape Town mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith, said: “The EFF has applied for a peaceful protest permit with conditions, including refraining from intimidating city staff, entering the Ndabeni pound, and excluding taxis from the procession.”

Smith said the protest was limited to 1,000 participants. 

“These proposed shutdowns occur periodically but rarely materialise or have significant consequences,” Smith said. “They mainly cause panic when messages spread through WhatsApp and social media.” 

The EFF led a nationwide protest in March 2023 and claimed the event was a success, but Business Maverick’s Ray Mahlaka reported that it was business as usual. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: It was organised business as usual, with no major disruptions, despite EFF’s national protest

Is it only the EFF? 

Posters have been shared with images suggesting some political parties, including the United Democratic Movement and African National Congress, will join the shutdown. Smith said the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco), along with other parties, would be involved too.

It’s unclear if the ANC will take part. On Friday, the ANC provincial leadership was expected to brief the media on the upcoming protest — although its media release on the briefing didn’t mention the EFF but only the “illegal taxi impoundments”. On Friday the party cancelled the briefing, saying it clashed with a multiparty meeting.

When Daily Maverick called for an update on the ANC’s position, they did not respond.

What do provincial and local government say? 

The Western Cape MEC for police oversight and community safety, Reagen Allen, said on Thursday he had met with senior municipal officials, provincial government officials and the South African Police Service (SAPS) to assess provincial readiness for the protest. 

“I have been assured by the SAPS and law enforcement agencies that any attempts to cause anarchy will be met with the full might of the law,” he said. 

Allen said his department would work closely with the SAPS and law enforcement in “holding them to account to ensure that businesses can open, that those needing to get to work or any other appointment, can do so”.

Smith said, “The city has an operational plan for the day in case any protest becomes violent or disrupts traffic. Our operational plan includes provisions for addressing public disorder and violence, using technologies such as drones and CCTV for effective response.” 

He said the city would “not hesitate” to pursue criminal and civil legal action against organisers or political parties responsible for gatherings or protests that resulted in violence or damage to public or private property. 

Minibus Taxi Task Team 

It was announced on Thursday that the Minibus Taxi Task Team (made up of local government, provincial government and Santaco members) had successfully concluded negotiations over the past four weeks following issues raised in the August strike and will now proceed with an implementation period. 

According to a joint statement by the Western Cape government, the City of Cape Town and Santaco, the successful negotiations would ensure that transport operations continue without any disruptions. 

The implementation period will run until 30 November, during which time the Provincial Regulatory Entity will conduct a review of its operating licence conditions and the work of the task team will continue. 

“The City of Cape Town, the Western Cape Government, and Santaco-WC spent the month of September working through the outstanding points of disagreement regarding enforcement measurements for the minibus taxi industry. 

“All parties are satisfied that we have honoured our mutual commitment to safe, reliable, and affordable transport for commuters … This demonstrates the possibilities for finding common ground when we meet around a table for constructive discussion,” according to the statement. DM

This article was updated on Friday to include the statement by SANTACO Western Cape and  the ANC’s cancellation of its planned briefing.

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Beyond Fedup says:

    Just another pathetic attempt by the vile, fascist, bullying and racist EFFthieves to cause chaos and trying to remain relevant. They add no value or solutions to this country and we in the WC most certainly do not need or want them. Nothing but scum.

  • Denise Smit says:

    They have timed this perfectly, when the Western Cape has to deal with the aftereffects of the storms. Of course the Deputy Minister of Transport will join them as she did before, calling everybody in the Western Cape racists. In stead of fixing their own transport and potholed roads and areas without water in the other areas of the country. The writer must write about Johannesburg without water. Denise Smit

  • David Mitchley says:

    I certainly hope that the good people of the Western Cape show these EFF looters exactly what we think of them by carrying on our business as usual.

  • Mike Blackburn says:

    Yet another constructive contribution to the political debate by the fascist wing of the ANC, i.e the EFF. Struggling for relevance, the only weapon they have is to break and destroy and disrupt. It kills them that there is a functional government in the WC that continually makes their efforts in governance everywhere else look like a clown show.

  • William Dryden says:

    Malema should be held responsible for any looting or rioting due to their protest. The EFF are nothing but scum in this country and all they do is stir up the people with their racist remarks. People and businesses in the Western Cape should ignore the protest and carry on as normal and let the police sort out the EFF.

  • They must stay out of our district. I am so tired of the racist card. Da runs cape town and Meyor and steenhuixen must not allow this as it causes panic and unnecessary violence. Look what happened in the last one. It should not be allowed and have the eff intimidate people.

  • Matthew Quinton says:

    Economic Freedom Fighters.

    Fighting to free you from having an economy!

    2 things you HAVE to laugh at:

    1. Julius Melanoma accusing someone else of racism.
    2. “What the EFF” protesting against a DA led city because of load shedding.

    I’m not sure which is more funny…. but I reckon the load shedding is marginally funnier. Yeah right Melanoma, the DA is partly to blame for Load Shedding. Sure!

    I can just hear Dr Evil from Austin Powers…. “Riiiiiiiight!”

  • Eon van Wyk says:

    The openly racist party is throwing a tantrum again..

  • Rae Earl says:

    The EFF have realised they’re becoming irrelevant and are now indulging in disgusting levels of racism against Asians, Coloureds, and Whites. This is the same mob that spent millions they stole from the savings accounts of desperately poor black people in the VBS Bank collapse. They used the money to buy expensive cars and imported clothes while living the high life in expensive restaurants and throwing big parties in high end holiday resorts.

  • Paddy Ross says:

    This is a purely political exercise by the EFF and none of their apparent justifications bear scrutiny. Does this demonstration have the required police approval? Assuming not, SAPS must ensure that this shutdown does not succeed.

  • Malcolm Mitchell says:

    The last kicks of a dying party

  • Steve Davidson says:

    Thanks to everyone for all the great comments below – saves me getting all worked up trying to write my own! I agree with all of you.
    I wish the DM could organise a thumbs up box so we could support all the good comments – I’d give everyone here ten each.
    It’s also good to hear that the CoCT and the taxi owners are getting some good traction going and that – despite the EFF VBS thieves trying to cause trouble.

  • P van den Berg says:

    he such a Winnie The Poo’s

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    Racism – …when it’s all you’ve got.

  • Iam Fedup says:

    Who will rid us of this meddlesome fool?

  • Jennifer D says:

    The only way the EFF and ANC can defend their incredible incompetence in the rest of the country is by calling the WC racists. They themselves are the most racist people in this country. Not only are they racist, but they are violent and criminal racists.

  • William Kelly says:

    Interesting. Not the EFF noise, but the real news that CoCT and Santaco appear to be making real progress. It is encouraging and it is necessary. No wonder the EFF want to derail it. I think when you build meaningful engagement between the two previously warring parties it will withstand external influence from the likes of the EFF. Kudos to them all for the efforts being made.

  • Change is good sa says:

    Declaring that the DA in the well run WC racist is a way for the ANC and EFF to deflect the attention of South Africans who want to move on from ANC/EFF dominated politics to something that works for all of us. The ANC/EFF partnership have declared that they will go after the WC, but as per usual it is destruction and violence that they prefer to use, not service delivery, showing up their own lack of care once again of what happens to SA citizens from all walks of life. SA citizens want service delivery and the Multi Party Charter collaboration is going to deliver that to them. Every day that the ANC/EFF alliance are out of power next year after the elections, will be a day of the turnaround for this country. So we will have to tighten our seatbelts and live through this ANC/EFF scourge until 2024 is over.

  • Les Thorpe says:

    To be expected in Africa where the average person’s cognitive ability is questionable.

  • Andre Swart says:

    ‘brack en fell’ them again …!

    and again … and again …

  • Ben Harper says:

    Governments should never negotiate with terrorists

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