Violent spats between two Vaal-based taxi associations may finally be curbed after a memorandum of agreement was reached between the rivals.
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.
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.
Cindi’s father told the publication she had been a taxi owner since the mid-1990s.
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.
Compiled by Nica Richards