Taxi dispute remains unresolved

2017-11-16 06:00
The disputed ‘Standerton’ taxi loading zone in the Port Shepstone CBD.PHOTO: thami ka-nkosi

The disputed ‘Standerton’ taxi loading zone in the Port Shepstone CBD.PHOTO: thami ka-nkosi

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IT seems the Ray Nkonyeni Municipality’s interventions in the local taxi disputes might not end anytime soon.

This is despite several attempts by the municipality and the Department of Transport to come up with a solution for lasting peace, including the signing of peace agreements in 2015.

Taxi owners have now accused the municipality of failing to deal with an “illegal” loading zone, named Standerton, opposite Shoprite on Nelson Mandela Drive in Port Shepstone.

Last month taxi owners, who belong to the Bambanani Taxi Association, met with the municipality requesting the closure of the loading zone as they said it is allegedly operating in a non-designated area for taxis.

Taxi owners and drivers that operate at Standerton have in turn accused the South African Taxi Council (Santaco) of victimising them.

They claim Santaco members are doing this with the Bambanani Taxi Association.

Speaking on behalf of the taxis that operate at Standerton, Vusi Mbutho said the rank will come to a standstill on the day of their removal.

They claim that whenever there is taxi violence they are always accused of being the troublemakers, while their rivals are let off the hook.

“Last year we were forced out of our loading stand at the Port Shepstone rank by the police and security and the Ray Nkonyeni Municipality’s protection services did not act,” said Mbutho, promising they will defend themselves.

“We going nowhere and if they want war they must come and remove us,” said another taxi driver.

Santaco spokesman Mandla Mzelemu said the follow-up meeting that was supposed to be on October 20 was postponed due to the municipality needing more time to prepare responses.

He said the Standerton loading zone is illegal and must be removed.

“If law enforcement fails, we will do it ourselves. This is not a banana state where people just do whatever they want and get away with it,” said Mzelemu.

Ray Nkonyeni Municipal Manager Maxwell Mbili said they will meet all the taxi associations before the end of the month to discuss some of the issues and try to come up with solutions.

“Some issues had to be dealt with by the Department of Transport, now we are waiting for the responses,” said Mbili.

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