Non­goma taxi war nears end

War­ring taxi as­so­ci­a­tion mem­bers sign peace agree­ment af­ter years of vi­o­lence and scores of deaths

The New Age (KwaZulu-Natal) - - News - SI­BONGISENI MAPHUMULO si­bongisenim@the­newage.co.za

STA­BIL­ITY in Non­goma ap­pears to be within reach af­ter the sign­ing of a peace agree­ment by war­ring mem­bers of the Non­goma Taxi As­so­ci­a­tion fol­low­ing years of vi­o­lence which has left scores dead.

The peace talks were fa­cil­i­tated by trans­port, com­mu­nity safety and li­ai­son MEC Mx­olisi Kaunda, com­mu­nity lead­ers, the of­fice of the premier and the South African Na­tional Taxi Coun­cil (San­taco), who want to see an end to the vi­o­lence.

Kaunda said they were op­ti­mistic about achiev­ing peace in KwaNon­goma af­ter the water­shed agree­ment between two war­ring par­ties, who com­mit­ted to re­solv­ing dif­fer­ences through di­a­logue.

This fol­lows an in­ci­dent on Sun­day where mem­bers of the as­so­ci­a­tion forced a tem­po­rary clo­sure of the taxi rank as part of the on­go­ing war.

Last month, five peo­ple were am­bushed and killed in the KwaDab­hasi area in the taxi war, lead­ing to the lat­est in­ter­ven­tion and peace talks.

“We ap­pre­ci­ate and wel­come the com­mit­ment by th­ese two group­ings and the lead­er­ship of the taxi as­so­ci­a­tion to par­tic­i­pate in the process that will lay the foun­da­tion for peace and sta­bil­ity in the as­so­ci­a­tion. Af­ter a very long time, it is heart­en­ing to have th­ese two feud­ing par­ties com­ing to­gether and com­mit­ting them­selves to peace,” Kaunda said. The depart­ment said, for the first time af­ter years of blood­shed, the two par­ties agreed to par­tic­i­pate in peace­ful ne­go­ti­a­tions and end­ing vi­o­lence. “This, in our view will go a long way to­wards end­ing con­flict and vi­o­lence. As the depart­ment, we will em­bark on a process of tak­ing over the se­cu­rity in the taxi rank to en­sure that com­muters are safe.”

Some of the key agree­ments that emerged at the meet­ing in­clude the gov­ern­ment tak­ing over the con­trol, man­age­ment and se­cu­rity of the KwaNon­goma taxi rank.

The par­ties also com­mit­ted them­selves to end­ing the col­lec­tion of money at the taxi rank as this was iden­ti­fied as a source of con­flict.

The ex­ec­u­tive of the as­so­ci­a­tion and the en­tire mem­ber­ship who were present at the meet­ing wel­comed the bold in­ter­ven­tions by Kaunda and sup­ported the agree­ment signed by all par­ties.

Kaunda as­sured those at­tend­ing the meet­ing that the po­lice and the depart­ment of trans­port’s Op­er­a­tion Shanela unit would be de­ployed on a semi-per­ma­nent ba­sis to mon­i­tor the sit­u­a­tion in the area and erad­i­cate law­less­ness.

As the depart­ment, we will em­bark on a process of tak­ing over the se­cu­rity in the taxi rank to en­sure that com­muters are safe

PIC­TURE: MBUYISELO NDLOVU

PEACE AC­CORD: MEC for trans­port, com­mu­nity safety and li­ai­son Mx­olisi Kaunda signs a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing with mem­bers of Non­goma Taxi As­so­ci­a­tion at KwaNon­goma.

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