Gauteng MEC engages commuters on route dispute by JHB taxi associations

Gauteng MEC for Transport and Logistics Kedibone Diale-Tlabela intends to implement special measures – including the closure of routes and taxi ranks that are being disputed between the Witwatersrand African Taxi Association (WATA) and the Nancefield Dube West Taxi Association (Nanduwe) – following incidents of violence.

Tensions between WATA and Nanduwe arose early this month when the two associations did not agree on operations on routes along Dube to Jeppe Station Rank, Makhetha Garage (Phefeni) Taxi to Jeppe Station Taxi Rank as well as Uncle Toms Hall Taxi Rank to Jeppe Station.

This gave rise to violence that resulted in several deaths in the area.

As part of her broad consultation with communities, the MEC expressed her intention to invoke section 91 of the National Land Transport Act during a meeting on held Thursday at Uncle Toms Hall in Orlando West, Soweto.

The Act gives the MEC powers to implement special measures, including the closure of routes and taxi ranks that are being disputed between
the two associations.

‘Our approach to resolving this crisis has always been people centric. We believe that commuters and the community affected by the conflict between the associations are the first priority in whatever we do as the government. My visit to Soweto was to explain in detail our interventions aimed at ensuring that we safeguard the lives of commuters and taxi operators,’ Diale-Tlabela said.

As part of resolving the dispute, the provincial government is planning on amending the contested routes and its operating licenses to avoid duplication of these routes. This intervention is the first of its kind since these routes were formulated.

“By amending these routes, we are dealing with the core issue in the long-standing dispute. We are also collaborating with other government entities to deal with outstanding operating license renewals. We will soon announce an end-to-end process that will assist in regularising operators that have taken legitimate steps to renew their documents,” Diale-Tlabela

The provincial government has increased police visibility on the disputed routes as part of preventing further violence, while a resolution is being negotiated with WATA and Nanduwe through their mother body, the Gauteng National Taxi Alliance.

‘I would like to send a word of appreciation to the Gauteng taxi industry leadership for their stewardship and support as we deal with this complex challenge. We will continue to extend our hand to both WATA and Nanduwe as we take a special interest in the taxi industry,’ the MEC said.

Diale-Tlabela emphasised the key role that the taxi industry continues to play in powering the economy of Gauteng as the largest people mover.

The provincial government continues to support initiatives to modernise and corporatise the industry. These include the establishment of the taxi fund, which coordinates several empowerment opportunities for the industry.

Source: South African Government News Agency