Citizen Reporter
2 minute read
13 Jul 2021
8:20 am

Huge relief as warring Vaal taxi bodies reach ceasefire deal

Citizen Reporter

After Monday’s signed agreement, the closure of routes and taxi ranks operated by the associations has been put on hold.

Taxis parked in Pretoria on 18 November 2020. Picture for illustration: Gallo Images/Lefty Shivambu

Violent spats between two Vaal-based taxi associations may finally be curbed after a memorandum of agreement was reached between the rivals. 

ALSO READ: MEC red-flags new conflict between Soweto taxi associations

The agreement was presented by the Gauteng taxi industry on Monday, which agreed to a ceasefire, the end of conflict, stopping the damage of vehicles and ensuring passenger and taxi rank safety between the Internal Taxi Association (ITA) and Evaton West Taxi Association (EWTA). 

For years, intense violence over routes in the Sedibeng region has continued, putting the lives of passengers and owners in danger.

Gauteng MEC for public transport and roads infrastructure, Jacob Mamabolo, previously served both the ITA and EWTA with a letter of intent to shut down their operations for six months. 

After Monday’s signed agreement, Mamabolo put the closure of routes and taxi ranks operated by the associations on hold, and said the associations would be able to operate in the area if they abided by the agreement. 

“Any violation of the terms of the agreement will leave us with no choice but to shut down their operations without consulting them,” Mamabolo said. 

ALSO READ: Bystanders try to save gunned down KZN taxi boss’s life

Although cognizant of the impact of shutting down two taxi operations, keeping in mind the mobility restrictions passengers endure, Mamabolo said the agreement was not “a licence for taxi operators to act with impunity”. 

The department would be monitoring operations closely and warned it “will not hesitate to act when necessary”. 

Violence plaguing SA since 2019

In one of many alleged taxi industry-related hits, in 2019, 50-year-old taxi owner Queen Cindi was gunned down at her Evaton home.

According to SowetanLive, Cindi was shot by two gunmen in front of her teenage daughter after a driver returned one of her taxis. 

ALSO READ: Another taxi boss gunned down in suspected hit

Cindi’s father told the publication she had been a taxi owner since the mid-1990s. 

This year, a number of suspected hits on taxi bosses have been reported, from Johannesburg to KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga to Cape Town, and in Soweto.

The latest reported incident took place last month in KZN, after 26-year-old Melusi Maxwell Mphili died in a hail of bullets after a “lone gunman” opened fire at the Gateway taxi rank in the Verulam CBD.

READ NEXT: Gauteng taxi associations are a law unto themselves, says transport MEC

Compiled by Nica Richards