Ri­val taxi or­gan­i­sa­tions recom­mit to peace

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - HENRIËTTE GELDEN­HUYS

MEM­BERS of ri­val taxi or­gan­i­sa­tions recom­mit­ted them­selves to a peace­ful res­o­lu­tion to the cur­rent taxi vi­o­lence at a meet­ing in Athlone yes­ter­day, said Siph­e­sihle Dube, spokesman for Robin Carlisle, MEC for Trans­port.

This fol­lows the killing of four peo­ple as­so­ci­ated with the taxi in­dus­try this week.

Dube said the cur­rent con­flict was over con­trol of the Delft-Ep­ping-Bon­te­heuwel and Khayelit­sha-Delft routes, adding that com­pe­ti­tion for pas­sen­gers was fierce, re­sult­ing in route in­va­sions in the Delft area.

The meet­ing, at the Van­gate pub­lic trans­port ser­vice cen­tre, was at­tended by ex­ec­u­tive mem­bers of the Congress of Demo­cratic Taxi As­so­ci­a­tions ( Codeta), the Cape Amal­ga­mated Taxi As­so­ci­a­tion (Cata), the Delft Taxi As­so­ci­a­tion (DTA), and the South African Na­tional Taxi Coun­cil (San­taco).

Dube said the groups made an ini­tial com­mit­ment last month, then cer­tain par­ties re­neged on the deal, but the groups yes­ter­day recom­mit­ted them­selves to peace.

“The af­fected par­ties have again com­mit­ted to peace and sta­bil­ity in the taxi in­dus­try. We hope with the new com­mit­ment and the re-es­tab­lish­ment of a task team that in­cludes all the taxi or­gan­i­sa­tions, we will start to see a change,” he said.

Mean­while, po­lice have stepped up their pa­trols in taxi vi­o­lence hot spots, es­pe­cially in Delft, Bel­lville and Nyanga.

The taxi war­fare has re­port­edly claimed the lives of at least 10 peo­ple since Au­gust.

The four shot dead this week were ei­ther taxi driv­ers or guards in taxis, said po­lice spokesman Colonel An­dré Traut.

One per­son was shot dead in Nyanga on Mon­day, one in Elsies River on Tues­day, a third in Khayelit­sha on Wed­nes­day, and another in Nyanga on Thurs­day.

Po­lice have ar­rested four sus­pects – two in con­nec­tion with Mon­day’s killing in Nyanga, and another two for Tues­day’s killing in Elsie’s River, Traut said.

Andile Khanyi, deputy gen­eral sec­re­tary of Codeta, said com­muters were stranded yes­ter­day when many taxi driv­ers, es­pe­cially from Khayelit­sha, Nyanga and Delft, re­fused to work “be­cause they fear for their lives”.

The af­fected driv­ers gath­ered at the Bel­lville rank, de­mand­ing pro­tec­tion.

“We are very sorry for the com­muters who don’t have trans­port.

“But we also un­der­stand that taxi driv­ers can’t con­tinue while their lives are be­ing threat­ened,” Khanyi said.

Dube said com­muters were forced to make al­ter­na­tive ar­range­ments.

“This is not ideal, but pas­sen­ger safety has been com­pro­mised by the re­cent spate of at­tacks,” he said. hen­ri­ette.gelden­huys@inl.co.za

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