Get traffic cops on the roads
YOUR correspondents, Dr Achmat Dyason of the Minibus Taxi Industry Task Team (“Wrong way to get tough”), Basil Nagel (“City should work with taxi industry, not enforce curbs”), and Geoff Harris (“Taxis not solely to blame”) are correct about councillor JP Smith, who holds the safety and security portfolio in the City of Cape Town, and Donald Grant, the MEC of Transport and Public Works, who promised tougher measures to clamp down on the taxi industry as reported in Weekend Argus, October 28 (“City gets tough on taxis”).
Smith and Grant are living in La La Land if they think the measures they are proposing will help to stop lawless taxi drivers.
What use is it impounding taxis or issuing more fines, which probably don’t get paid anyway?
However, neither Nagel, who professes to be a taxi guru, judging by the number of opinion pieces he submits to your sister titles, nor Dyason address the most important issue: the lawlessness of many taxi drivers.
Nagel is always pleading for the city council to work with the minibus drivers. I have never read anything from him in which he implores the taxi drivers to obey the law and work with the municipality.
He posed the question: Is it greed or an industry operating in survival mode? The answer is greed.
How many times have we heard that the drivers have to get in as many trips as possible in a shift to please their owners, and to earn their daily crust? Dyason makes much the same argument and both writers agree that public transport is the national government’s responsibility which is delegated to provinces. But most people believe that the province(s) and the city council are lackadaisical when it comes to law enforcement.
Members of the traffic department think speed traps and holding road blocks at peak hours equals law enforcement. It isn’t; it just irritates law-abiding citizens.
Your other writer, Geoff Harris, is correct when he says the taxi industry is not solely to blame. Other road users also behave stupidly and recklessly, endangering others’ lives.
Visible policing is the answer, not more laws, especially not when the existing ones cannot be enforced.
Put the cops back on their motorbikes and let them patrol the highways and byways.
They would have a field day on Koeberg Road, starting at Paarden Island and Blaauwberg Road in Table View, every day of the week, especially at weekends.
Those two roads would be excellent money-earners for the City of Cape Town, so much so they would be able to employ more traffic cops.
More visible policing will make minibus taxi drivers obey the rules of the road, not more laws, says the writer.