Transport minister calls for resolution to Cape Town taxi strike

The Transport Department plans to meet with both the SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) and officials in the City of Cape Town following the suspension of taxi services.

This is according to Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga, who was speaking on the sidelines of the National Dialogue on Coalition Governments in Cape Town on Wednesday.

Chikunga’s remarks came after Santaco members blockaded major highways and intimidated other motorists following the suspension of taxi services due to a stand-off with the City of Cape Town on various issues including the impounding of taxis.

Chikunga said the department is expecting to convene a meeting with all role players to find a solution to the impasse.

“We have requested [a meeting with] the MEC for transport [in Western Cape] because we believe the department should lead and not the police, because this is a matter that requires the department nationally and provincially sitting together with the metro.

“We have invited the national leadership of Santaco and their provincial and local leadership, so that we hear what the issues are and find solutions to those problems.”

She called for taxi operators to reconsider the suspension of services, which has left thousands of commuters stranded.

“We are extremely concerned about what has happened. What we would like Santaco to do is maybe call off the strike while we are trying to find a solution.

“The people who become victims are not the people that they are unhappy with, but it is the commuters,” she said.

The minister added that the department wants to protect the Netball World Cup, which is currently taking place in the Mother City.

“We have other events that have to take place in Cape Town. [The taxi industry] plays a key role in the transportation of commuters and we would try to persuade them to consider calling off the strike.”

Chikunga condemned the violence that erupted allegedly at the hands of taxi drivers in the area, but also called on city officials to mete out “equal treatment” to all motorists.

“We are not saying that law enforcement should not enforce the law, and we are not saying the taxi industry should not abide by the law … because that actually leads to accidents.

“However, when that law is meted, it should not just target the taxi industry.”


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