Image via: flickr
Image via: flickr
As talks continue to bring to an end violence resulting from warring parties within Cape Town taxi industry, Western Cape Transport heads have blamed Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula and national government’s failure to find solutions to train service deterioration for the ongoing dispute that has left six people dead in the last week alone, bringing the total number of deaths reported this year up to 80.
A Golden Arrow bus driver became the latest victim in the ongoing war despite these crunch talks having continued since Friday after he was shot in the mouth and seriously injured on Monday morning. The role-players engaged in finding a solution to the issue include Mbalula and leaders of the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO), Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (CATA) as well as the Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations (CODETA).
In a statement released on Monday, Democratic Alliance (DA) Western Cape Committee Spokesperson on Transport and Public Works, Ricardo Mackenzie, said that the importance of the taxi industry and its ability to function without persistent disputes over route allocations cannot be understated.
“We can’t consider the taxi industry in a silo. It forms a huge part of the province’s public transport system, and so it is affected by all other forms of transport,” he said, adding that a “national failure leading to the collapse of trains in the Western Cape” has led to the challenges facing the taxi industry.
“Over the past eight years, there has been a 16% increase in taxi use which has coincided with a 64% decrease in train usage within that same timeframe. The collapse of our public transport infrastructure, specifically that of Metrorail, has resulted in immense strain on taxi operators,” he said.
Mackenzie said that SANTACO will join provincial and national transport departments in briefing the Standing Committee on Transport and Public Works.
“Taxis form the backbone of daily transportation in our economy, and we cannot allow violence to threaten the lives and livelihoods of hard-working residents any longer,” he said.
“We call on the national government to expedite its promises to deliver functioning railways to the province in order to alleviate the stress being placed on the taxi industry. It is of paramount importance that a long-term solution is reached in order for stability to prevail in the Western Cape.”