Pretoria – The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) has warmly welcomed the intervention of MEC for Roads and Transport Jacob Mamabolo to bring stability at the Bosman Taxi Rank in the city.
Santaco regional spokesperson McDonald Makata said although the industry had structures, only the government was empowered to enforce laws on feuding taxi associations.
Mamabolo instructed three taxi associations at Bosman to abide by the law and stop the intimidations which had resulted in some operators being barred from the rank.
Tension has been simmering at the facility, especially among members of Pretoria Mabopane Pietersburg Taxi Association, Pretoria Long Distance Taxi Association and the Great North Taxi Association.
They all operate within the Pretoria CBD to Polokwane route.
This prompted Mamabolo to bring all organisations to negotiations as part of an effort to avert the threat of violence.
“I have met the associations and made it very clear that violence has no place in the taxi industry. As the provincial government, we will spare no effort in ensuring that violence becomes a thing of the past in Gauteng,” said Mamabolo.
He has instructed the associations to implement the findings of a 2009 arbitration process which instructed all parties to operate the Bosman to and from Polokwane route on an equal basis.
At the same time, the Gauteng Transport Registrar will consult with the associations to find a workable solution.
“I have asked the associations to allow the department three months to re-evaluate the matter and come with a new proposal that will resolve their issues once and for all,” Mamabolo said.
The Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, recently ratified an agreement between major taxi structures, Gauteng National Taxi Alliance and Santaco and giving the MEC powers to dissolve taxi associations involved in acts of violence.
Makata said: “We, as the Tshwane taxi industry, will accept any intervention and measures by the government to bring peace here and resolve disputes.
“At the end of the day, we are monitoring structures and the government is the one that has powers to enforce laws.
“When a taxi association comes and says it has a government-issued licence to use a route, what can we do?
“With that said, in a lot of cases these route disputes are actually the government’s own fault. They give different taxi associations licence to use the same route from the same point A to point B and then these conflicts happen.
“We are therefore saying we welcome their intervention. We’ll be happy if they come up with a good solution for everybody involved.”