Gauteng MEC for public transport and roads infrastructure Jacob Mamabolo condemns the resurgence of taxi-related conflict between the Witwatersrand African Taxi Owners’ Association and the Nancefield Dube West Taxi Association in Soweto.
This came after several taxis staged a protest and blocked the road on Klipspruit Valley near the N17 Soweto Highway, leaving commuters stranded and motorists unable to get to work or school.
“It has come to our attention that there have been incidents of taxi-related violence involving taxi associations in Soweto recently,” said Mamabolo.
“Both associations are warned to refrain from causing instability in the area or face possible closure. As we work towards our commitment of creating a gunfree taxi industry, we will not allow a situation where few individuals threaten the lives of commuters and residents.
“We call on law enforcement agencies to deal harshly with the perpetrators.”
One commuter, Boitumelo Kotulo, said he had spent more than two hours on the road waiting for the traffic to clear when drivers stoned a patrol car before the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) showed up.
The JMPD’s Wayne Minnaar said they were unaware that a squad car had been flipped and stoned on the road during the protest.
However, they had monitored the protest, he said.
“Taxi drivers were protesting along Klipspruit Valley Road by Khumalo Street in Orlando West, Soweto, in the morning and we were monitoring the situation until midday, when the roads were cleared,” said
Minnaar According to Mamabolo, they last year dissolved the executive committees of both associations following clashes that resulted in two deaths.
“The [High Court in Pretoria] has ratified an agreement between Gauteng’s major taxi structures – the Gauteng National Taxi Alliance and the South African National Taxi Council – giving the MEC powers to dissolve taxi associations involved in acts of violence.
“The MEC is empowered by law to place associations involved in violence under administration, or close them in terms of Section 91 of the National Land Transport Act.
“This ensures that no person shall be allowed to undertake passenger road transport services at affected ranks and/or on identified routes.”
Mamabolo also said the provincial government would not allow its efforts to improve, modernise and integrate the taxi industry into the public transport system to be scuppered.