Joburg minibus taxi truce paves way for Soweto routes to be reopened

2019-06-11 21:24
Soweto routes will be reopened on June 18.(SA Taxi)

Soweto routes will be reopened on June 18.(SA Taxi)

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The Committee of Roads and Transport in the Gauteng provincial legislature has welcomed the reopening of several taxi routes and ranks in Soweto and the Johannesburg CBD that were shut down earlier this year because of ongoing conflict.

In a statement, the chairperson of the roads and transport committee, Dumisani Dakile, said successful negotiations between the conflicting taxi associations and the Department of Roads and Transport had paved the way for operations to resume.

Dakile said the routes would be opened on June 18.

READ: Gauteng MEC for transport to close several Soweto taxi ranks and routes over violence

"As a committee, we welcome the move and are pleased to have a feasible solution emanate from the talks, ownership and responsibility taken by the taxi associations to ensure peace and stability," Dakile said.

"We also hope that the resolutions taken today will bring a lasting solution that will see peaceful and safe operations that are so deserving to the community of Soweto as they commute to their different destinations."

News24 previously reported that the Witwatersrand African Taxi Owners Association (WATA) and Nancefield Dube West Taxi Association (Nanduwe) have been at the centre of the ongoing conflict.

SEE: The 6 taxi ranks in Soweto to be shut down over escalating violence

This led to the decision by former Gauteng roads and transport MEC Ismail Vadi to close certain routes for three months in March.

Vadi said at the time: "Practically, what this means is that specific taxi ranks and routes in Soweto will be shut down from Friday morning, March 15, for a period of three months, until June 15 this year."

ALSO READ: Rival Soweto taxi associations claim peace after deadly clashes over routes

"This closure of these taxi ranks/routes arises from the ongoing conflict and violence between members of WATA and Nanduwe. It is necessary to shut down their minibus taxi services for the safety of commuters and residents of Soweto."

According to Vadi, several incidents had occurred on these routes at the start of 2019, including a number of murders, several cases of malicious damage to property and one of public violence where six people were shot, seven vehicles damaged, and one that was torched on March 5 this year.

Among those killed were WATA members SB Hadebe, treasurer SM Zwane and vice-chairperson MT Ngubane in January.

In February, several minibus taxis were attacked in Diepkloof and on March 1, armed men prevented taxis from operating at various taxi ranks in Soweto. 

Vadi added that on March 11, around 300 taxi drivers believed to be linked to WATA and Nanduwe had unlawfully used their vehicles to disrupt traffic in the Johannesburg CBD for several hours.    

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