taxi cape town SANTACO

Cape Town Station Deck Taxi Rank. Image: Storm Simpson

City of Cape Town braces for SANTACO stay-away and potential violence

The City of Cape Town said it will not tolerate ‘thuggish behaviour’ when SANTACO stages its stay-away protest this week.

taxi cape town SANTACO

Cape Town Station Deck Taxi Rank. Image: Storm Simpson

The taxi umbrella body, South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO), will withhold its services and embark on a stay-away in the Western Cape on Wednesday, 22 February. The City of Cape Town said these stay-aways are traditionally marked by incidents of violence and intimidation and attacks on other public transport services.

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SANTACO said there were many reasons for the stay-away, including the impounding of taxis for “minor” traffic violations. The Council pleaded with its members to refrain from acts of violence, intimidation or property destruction.

Taxis will be parked at ranks or drivers’ homes on Wednesday.

“I want to make it very clear that the City will not tolerate thuggish behaviour on the day and that all the necessary precautions will be taken to ensure the safety of commuters and other operators, including the MyCiTi bus service, as far as possible,” said City of Cape Town MayCo Member for Urban Mobility, Rob Quintas.

Quintas took aim at the reasons SANTACO have cited for the stay-away and said their claim that the City of Cape Town is targeting taxis by issuing fines and impounding vehicles is dishonest.

“Operators who are operating legally, and comply with the rules of the road do not have to fear fines or impoundments, but those who are violating the law will be caught and fined,” he said.

Last week, there was a law enforcement taxi operation in Hout Bay and 881 fines to the value of R753 610 were issued for various transgressions, including outstanding warrants, overloading, using a cellphone while driving and more.

Forty taxis were impounded, and the drivers were fined for operating without an operating licence or breaking the rules of the operating licence.

“The City will not be intimidated from acting against those who are driving around without driver’s licences and transporting commuters in vehicles that are unlicensed and not roadworthy,” said Quintas.

SANTACO’s last stay-away took place in November 2022. Commuters were left stranded, and other public transport vehicles were set alight during the two-day protest.