Mamelodi taxi drivers to hold talks

2015-07-07 07:55
Taxis impounded in Mamelodi, Pretoria. (Supplied, News24 Correspondent)

Taxis impounded in Mamelodi, Pretoria. (Supplied, News24 Correspondent)

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WATCH: Police check taxi permits in Mamelodi

2015-07-06 08:57

Traffic on Tsamaya Road in Mamelodi was brought to a halt when police conducted stop and searches. Watch. WATCH

Pretoria - Minibus taxi drivers in Mamelodi have agreed to hold talks with government about the violence in the area, which was prompted by the arrival of a new bus operator.

They have promised to stop their protest and allow Autopax buses to run unhindered in the township. The undertaking followed a meeting held on Monday afternoon with Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa, Passenger Rail Agency of SA CEO Lucky Montana, and the minibus taxi industry.

"The meeting was to map a way forward regarding the grievances of taxi operators and also declare a ceasefire," said Abner Tsebe, from the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) in Tshwane.

"That we need to go to the table and negotiate in good faith and stop breaking the buses."


Tsebe said the negotiations were supposed to be a point of departure, but he claimed Gauteng transport MEC Ismail Vadi hindered the process.

"The ceasefire was supposed to be the first thing to do after meeting with Vadi, but because he did not listen to us, that's why the resistance was so tough. We are putting the blame entirely on him. He should have listened to us as leaders," Tsebe said.

Violence broke out in the area last week after minibus taxi operators tried to stop commuters from using the buses being run by Autopax, which replaced the Putco service. One bus driver was reportedly shot and several commuters were injured. Buses were pelted with stones and roads barricaded.

Putco announced last Monday that it would not renew three of its contracts with the Gauteng transport department to service parts of Tshwane, Ekurhuleni, and Sedibeng municipalities from July 1.

Taxis impounded

Taxi operators in Mamelodi wanted to be subsidised and take over the route. Since Monday, Autopax buses have been operating under police escorts. The attacks prompted a police operation during which dozens of minibus taxis were impounded on Monday.

Tsebe said they wanted their taxis back.

"We have a delegation that will speak to government about this. That they must not treat us like an apartheid era state. We have a right to voice our grievances if we don't agree on certain issues. There was no need for such treatment," he said.

Tsebe denied that taxi operators had a hand in Friday's shooting of a Putco bus, in which five people were injured. He said the operators were dealing with Autopax, not Putco.

"The operators believe there is someone, a third force, using this to their benefit. Our operators have promised to look after the buses as negotiations continue," Tsebe said.

Read more on:    autopax  |  pretoria  |  transport

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