Taxi owners on the march

2015-08-05 06:00
ON THE MARCH: Members of the Free State National Taxi Alliance marched to the offices of the Department of Police, Roads and Transport on Wednesday (29/07) to hand over a memorandum of grievances. 
Sidwell Guduka

ON THE MARCH: Members of the Free State National Taxi Alliance marched to the offices of the Department of Police, Roads and Transport on Wednesday (29/07) to hand over a memorandum of grievances. Photo: Sidwell Guduka

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ABOUT 400 members of the Free State State National Taxi Alliance, clad in colourful golf shirts and armed only with the latest cellphones, marched through the streets of Bloemfontein on Wednesday (29/07) to protest against what they called the discrimination and intimidation of their members, amendment of routes as well as permit transfers, amongst other things.

The peaceful march proceeded from the Pax Nova Hall in Bochabela and it ended at the Department of Police, Roads and Transport’s offices in Charlotte Maxeke Street, where the marchers handed over their memorandum of grievances.

The memorandum was received by chief director of Transport, Advocate Tumelo Phahlo, on behalf of the MEC for Transport, Butana Komphela.

“As members of the National Taxi Alliance, we feel very discriminated against and are being harassed by disrespectful traffic cops. They are targeting taxis for permit-related issues.

They always impound our vehicles for minor issues. That’s unacceptable,” said Steven Pitso, general secretary of the National Taxi Alliance.

“Some of our taxis were impounded because the drivers were caught speeding and overloading. Impoundment should only be made in the most extreme circumstances, not when a driver has outstanding fines,” he said.

“We are also unhappy about the treatment we get from the Free State Operating Licensing Board officials for their failure to issue permits to our members, but they give permits to our competitors. We demand fair treatment irrespective of which taxi associations we belong to,” added Pitso. The marchers gave the Department of Transport until 7 August to respond to their demands.

“We are going to sit down to resolve all issues that have been raised by the National Taxi Alliance today. We are going to make sure that we address them,” said Phahlo.

“We have already responded to some of the issues they have raised here, but it seems like there is sort of a misunderstanding between us,” he said.

Phahlo concluded that while they acknowledged the relationship they had with the South Africa National Taxi Council (Santaco), government did indeed acknowledge and work with all other structures in the public transport industry.

“The relationship of government and the taxi industry or, for any public transport operator for that matter, is regulated by the act. Government is in the business of ensuring that transport is safe, affordable and accessible,” explained Phahlo

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