Western Cape commits to protect commuters in midst of taxi violence

31

Western Cape Premier, Alan Winde, and the MEC for Transport and Public Works, Daylin Mitchell, have met with the management of Golden Arrow Bus Services (GABS) to ensure more public transport capacity is brought into the system.

According to the Premier, Golden Arrow CEO, Francois Meyer, advised him that the bus service is continuing to bring more of its fleet online.

This follows the disruption of major public transport routes in Cape Town due to taxi violence that has been ongoing for months.

“This evening, 60% of their fleet or approximately 600 buses will be brought online, which is an increase from 40% of their fleet yesterday,” Winde said on Wednesday.

According to News24, GABS is running at 40% route capacity, since their drivers fear for their safety after a colleague was shot in the mouth on Monday.

“I made it clear that ensuring the safety of public transport operations is my top priority, and that SAPS has significantly increased their presence to ensure that violence is prevented,” the Premier said.

Meyer said the recent spate of taxi violence across the metro has had a devastating impact on the company’s ability to offer its scheduled services to its 250 000 daily passengers.

“Historically, Golden Arrow has been known as the most stable public transport operator that has always been there for Capetonians when other services were not operational. Unfortunately, the brazen criminality that we have seen over the last week has made this impossible.”

Meanwhile, he expressed his gratitude to Winde, Mitchell, the Provincial Department of Transport, the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the security directorate for their support during this very difficult time.

“We believe that this holistic approach advocated by the Premier and MEC is already creating a vastly safer operating environment,” Meyer said.

Interventions

Winde and Mitchell visited the Provincial Operations Command Centre on Wednesday, where they received a briefing on the now significant deployment of SAPS in the metro.

According to the province, this is a coordinated operation led by SAPS, with the support of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), Metro Police, local law enforcement and traffic officers.

This follows Winde’s request for additional SANDF boots on the ground to be deployed.

According to the provincial government, the MEC has continued with engagements with the Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (CATA), Congress of Democratic Taxi Association (CODETA) and South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO).

This is part of the renewed efforts to find a lasting resolution to this conflict.

“This is in addition to a number of steps being taken by the Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works to ensure an end to taxi violence in the greater Cape Town area,” the provincial government said.

Meanwhile, the Department of Transport and Public Works (DTPW) said it was exploring approaching the Western Cape High Court to empower the MEC to place SANTACO associations under administration.

“The DTPW has suspended its financial support agreement with SANTACO until such a stage when the violence ends,” the province said, adding that it has suspended Blue Dot incentive payments to CATA and CODETA as a direct result of the conflict.

Meanwhile, Winde said small groups of criminals are denying the overwhelming majority of law-abiding taxi drivers from earning a living.



“They are also threatening the livelihoods of our most vulnerable communities at a time when the economy is already under pressure and jobs are being lost. We simply cannot allow it to continue, and that is why we will continue to do whatever we can to protect our commuters, and ensure that they can get to work, and home safely.”