Transport service issues resolved

2015-12-03 06:00

LIFT clubs have stopped all operations in Tongaat after a meeting with the Department of Transport, Sqalokuhle Taxi Association, lifts club operators and passengers at the Belvedere community hall to resolve the transport issues in Tongaat recently.

The decision to stop operations was made after advice by the Department of Transport (DoT) that by operating illegally the lift club operators were worsening the situation.

Speaking to over 500 people present at the Belvedere community hall, DoT representative, Sibusiso Ntuli said the department has been receiving ongoing complaints and reports that there are illegal operations taking place in Tongaat.

Ntuli said the continued operations of the lift clubs and the activity of the taxi association members in stopping the lift clubs on the road were both illegal.

“The lift club operators are illegal operators,” said Ntuli. “No member of the public has the right to go onto the road and stop members of the public. Only police and law enforcement officers have the right to stop a vehicle on the road. This conduct needs to stop.”

Ntuli said all lift clubs must have a permit to operate to give them authority to transport people for money.

“If you want to transport a member of the public for a reward (money) you need to have the authority to do that. If you don’t have the authority it is illegal,” said Ntuli adding the lift club operators are violating the legitimate operations of the taxi association.

He said the role of the department is also to resolve issues before they lead to conflict, but if the illegal activity by the lift club operators continues, then conflict is inevitable.

“People are being arrogant about breaking the law,” said Ntuli.

“The bottom line is conflict is inevitable in this town so long as people insist on breaking the law.”

Ntuli said it was only the lift clubs to blame for the current situation and that the department would still consider their applications for permits which take around three months to be processed.

Ntuli appealed to both parties to work together for the interest of the community and for the lift clubs to cease operating illegally.

Sqalokuhle Taxi Association chairman, Nico Mkhize said all they have wanted is for the law to be followed and respected.

“We don’t want a problem with the lift club operators. All we want is for them to follow the law and they must have permits to operate or they must stop,” said Mkhize.

Mkhize said taxi operators were occupying the exits for several weeks to avoid a clash between the two parties as the continued operations by the lift club operators were antagonizing the taxi operators.

Mkhize said once the lift club operators have their permits and abide by the law, the association will have no problems with them.

According to lift club operators, they had decided it would be best for the safety of passengers and peace in the community if operations were stopped until the permit applications are granted.

“We have all made applications for permits now and we have stopped until we get the permits. We don’t want this problem to go on,” said the operator.

He said this has already started hitting lift club passengers hard as they now need to use their own vehicles to work and this has had several repercussions for the community, financially and in regards to traffic congestion.

“There are also many passengers who ended up losing their jobs or have been placed on short time. We just hope that once we get the permits we can operate without interference,” said the lift club operator.

“We hope to work hand in hand with the taxi association because we have grown up as one community and we need to remain as one.”

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