Very recently, we have seen a spike in taxi related violence in the province, and particularly in the City of Cape Town. Blood has been spilt mostly as a result of an apparent internal power struggle within mother body organisations. Nyanga taxi rank has become the very bloody scene of this ongoing battle.
In the wake of this scourge of violence within the industry, I called upon the Provincial Regulating Entity (PRE) to institute a section 7(a)(20) (of the Western Cape Road Transportation Act, Amendment Law, Act no. 8 of 1996) hearing with representatives from the taxi industry, to address this very serious issue.
I attended the hearing on 25 July 2013, which was represented by; SANTACO national and regional representatives; representatives of over 150 taxi associations; as well as representatives from the City of Cape Town. The purpose of the hearing was to address taxi related violence and to sign a “non-violence” treaty amongst members and leaders of the industry. All were, and are, in agreement that the situation is unacceptable and highly condemnable as it threatens the stability of the industry, as well as the safety of the commuters whom the industry serves.
Representatives echoed our call for an end to this bloody and untenable situation. Calls were also made for strong SAPS action in effectively investigating, apprehending, and bringing to justice the perpetrators of these reprehensible acts. In the past year alone, over 30 alleged incidents of murder and attempted murder have been reported with no arrests. These inefficiencies do nothing to deter these criminals from committing these crimes and threatening the stability of this vital industry.
Following this morning’s walkabout at the Nyanga taxi rank, we will be approaching the City of Cape Town, and together explore the possibility of installing security cameras at the rank to aide effective policing and enforcement. Mr Victor Wiwi, Executive member of CATA, and I also heard concerns raised by commuters at the rank relating to; the need for more shelter at the rank; there not being enough taxis operating on particular routes, leading to long waits; and safety while commuting inside a taxi. These concerns were seconded by the commuters with whom I shared a taxi ride into the City centre, from Nyanga, this morning.
I am encouraged by the commitment to peace exhibited by SANTACO and the various representatives in the industry, however, for peace to truly be a realisation, there must be a commitment on the part of the industry to effectively resolve internal issues, with my department’s continued support, and moreover on the part of SAPS to bring justice to those responsible for the violence.