Coun­cil­lor sub­mits mo­ti­on to curb ‘taxi la­w­less­ness’

Graaff-rei­net re­si­dents de­mand acti­on

Graaff-Reinet Advertiser - - Graaff-reinet -

GRAAFF-REI­NET — Re­si­dents of Graaff­rei­net ha­ve be­co­me in­cre­a­singly frus­tra­ted a­bout the be­ha­vi­our of ma­ny taxi dri­vers in the to­wn, as has been high­lig­h­ted re­cent­ly on lo­cal so­ci­al me­dia groups.

Back in Fe­bru­a­ry, Cl­lr Sa­man­tha Gra­ham sub­mit­ted a mo­ti­on to the Com­mu­ni­ty Ser­vi­ces Port­fo­lio Com­mit­tee, which ca­me a­bout as a re­sult of a num­ber of com­plaints she had re­cei­ved re­gar­ding the “ab­so­lu­te la­w­less­ness” of the tax­is in the a­rea.

This re­la­ted not on­ly to the mi­ni­bus tax­is but al­so the new breed of tax­is that ha­ve re­cent­ly star­ted o­pe­ra­ting, na­me­ly the A­van­zas.

So­me of the most se­ri­ous con­cerns are non­ad­he­ren­ce to speed li­mits, stop­ping in the ro­ad to lo­ad and off-lo­ad pas­sen­gers, par­king on the pa­vements whi­le lo­a­ding and off-lo­a­ding pas­sen­gers, and con­stant hoot­ing to at­tract cu­s­to­mers.

For a num­ber of re­a­sons, the Port­fo­lio Com­mit­tee on­ly sat on Ju­ne 8 at which ti­me the mo­ti­on was ta­bled. Ac­com­pa­nying the mo­ti­on was a me­mo­ran­dum from the Ma­na­ger of Pro­tecti­on Ser­vi­ces, Chris R­hoode.

In his in­tro­ducti­on, he al­lu­ded to a num­ber of pro­blems that his de­part­ment is fa­cing with re­gard to the tax­is in the a­rea. The­re is on­ly one re­gis­te­red taxi as­so­ci­a­ti­on in Graaff-rei­net. All taxi o­w­ners should be­long to a taxi as­so­ci­a­ti­on, and this as­so­ci­a­ti­on is re­spon­si­ble for li­cen­se ap­pli­ca­ti­ons - ho­we­ver, the Mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty at that sta­ge had es­ta­blis­hed that the­re we­re ap­prox­i­ma­te­ly 59 il­le­gal tax­is o­pe­ra­ting in Graaff-rei­net al­o­ne.

A Lo­cal Trans­port Fo­rum was es­ta­blis­hed in 2004 but has not functi­o­ned sin­ce 2010, despi­te ha­ving been man­da­ted to de­al with the is­su­es of taxi li­cen­ses a­mong ot­hers.

R­hoode poin­ted out that the Mu­ni­ci­pal Traf­fic De­part­ment is woe­ful­ly un­der­staf­fed and u­na­ble to de­al with the wor­klo­ad. He al­so com­men­ted that the He­ad of Pro­se­cu­ting Aut­ho­ri­ty lo­cal­ly has i­den­ti­fied so­me shor­t­co­mings in the by­laws, which need to be re­vie­wed and up­da­ted as a mat­ter of ur­gen­cy.

In lig­ht of the a­bo­ve, the re­com­men­da­ti­ons of Cl­lr Gra­ham in her mo­ti­on we­re a­dop­ted and must be im­ple­men­ted, with the fol­lo­wing ad­di­ti­ons:

• That Coun­cil sup­ports the re­quest for mo­re Traf­fic Of­fi­cers w­hen re­vie­wing the or­ga­no­gram.

• That ot­her De­part­ments be ap­pro­a­ched with a view to as­sis­ting i.e. SAPS, Pro­vin­ci­al Traf­fic and Lo­cal Ro­ad Trans­por­ta­ti­on Bo­ard In­spec­tors.

In the in­te­rim, ho­we­ver, the­re is no­thing pre­ven­ting the cur­rent Traf­fic Of­fi­cers from char­ging and fi­ning taxi dri­vers for con­tra­ven­ti­on of the Nuis­an­ce By-law.

Hoot­ing, whis­t­ling, shou­ting, stop­ping in the midd­le of the ro­ad to lo­ad or of­flo­ad pas­sen­gers, par­king on pa­vements, speeding or any ot­her dis­or­der­ly be­ha­vi­our is e­a­sy to mo­ni­tor and pe­na­li­se and should be part of an on­going pro­gram of law en­for­ce­ment.

The De­mo­cra­tic Al­li­an­ce is ple­a­sed that this mo­ti­on has fi­nal­ly been ta­bled and a­dop­ted as “the la­w­less­ness that has be­co­me the norm in the Graaff-rei­net CBD is im­pacting on bu­si­nes­ses and tou­rism, which is ha­ving a ne­ga­ti­ve ef­fect on the e­co­nomy of our to­wn”.

“This is un­te­na­ble and must be ad­dres­sed,” said Cl­lr Gra­ham. “We can­not con­ti­nue to ma­ke ex­cu­ses as a Mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty for not en­for­cing our own by­laws or the laws of this coun­try. So­lu­ti­ons must be found and law and or­der must be re­sto­red. We will con­ti­nue to mo­ni­tor the im­ple­men­ta­ti­on of this mo­ti­on to en­s­u­re that per­pe­tra­tors are broug­ht to book w­hen bre­a­king the law” she con­clu­ded.

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