Gauteng taxi regions dispute election of new Santaco president

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Santaco president Abner Tsebe is barely a few days into his new role and there’s already a looming court battle opposing his election. Photo: YouTube
Santaco president Abner Tsebe is barely a few days into his new role and there’s already a looming court battle opposing his election. Photo: YouTube

NEWS


On the eve of new SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) president Abner Tsebe’s election earlier this week, two Gauteng divisions of the organisation challenged the legality of the national conference held at Sun City in Rustenburg, North West.

Tsebe was hoisted into office just before midnight on Monday as the organisation’s greater Johannesburg region and the Sedibeng region, in the Vaal, disputed that Gauteng representatives attending the conference were duly elected, and have threatened to challenge the outcomes of the conference in court.

In a letter from attorneys HJ Groenewald Inc, addressed to the Santaco secretariat office on Sunday, the two regions and their affiliates recorded that they “don’t support any of the representatives elected to represent Gauteng and maintain that their election was both constitutionally unfair and unlawful”.

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Tsebe is copied in the lawyer’s letter as the leader of the Tshwane region, which had 45 representatives at the conference, according to the letter. The Ekurhuleni region also had 45 representatives and the western Gauteng region had 20.

The letter from HJ Groenewald Inc reads: 

Although we have written to you during the course of the week in the hope that logic will prevail, our letter was met with a nonsensical reply that Santaco has defined processes that direct its operation.

“With the greatest of respect, the writer could also have advised that the Santaco constitution spells out the processes that need to be followed. It is another thing if lip service is provided to the constitution to create a smokescreen of adherence to it.”

The lawyers said the Santaco constitution promotes the values of unity, democracy and transparency aimed at transforming the taxi industry. “It follows that the need for democratisation within Santaco is paramount. In any elective process, it should, without exception, be applied in a transparent manner.”

The Gauteng provincial conference of the organisation was abandoned on March 22 following an objection to the election of greater Johannesburg leaders and “our clients maintained that the letter is a smokescreen and ought to be rejected”.

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On May 3, the high court heard an urgent application to “hold an urgent provincial election or appoint representatives to represent Gauteng at the national conference”, but the matter was dismissed in a judgment two days later.

HJ Groenewald Inc said a high-level meeting was on held on the same day of the judgment on short notice and in the absence of its clients.

It seems the representatives and/or new office bearers for the Gauteng province were elected without our clients being present or incorporated.

“Apparently, you see no wrong in this process and view it to be democratic. We view it as a carefully planned strategy to oust our clients from participating in a democratic manner for any election or position.”

The two regions also challenged the lawfulness of the election of Santaco leaders in Ekurhuleni, saying the process did not adhere to the basic democratic principles for free and fair elections.

The letter said that the Gauteng transport department concurred with this view.

“It follows that no representative elected at their elective conference is duly elected and unless another conference is held where office bearers in Ekurhuleni region are elected freely and fairly. Their continued participation in the region is democratically problematic. It taints the whole fairness of any elective process.”

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“The election of office bearers at the national level should be representative of all the provinces. When the elective process of a particular province leaves lots to be desired, any subsequent process that follows thereafter is democratically problematic.”

“That being the position, Tshwane and western Gauteng region do not have a quorum to have a duly structured provincial meeting of any kind. Any such meeting where representatives were elected is constitutionally bad and legally unsound.”

“... The so-called, representatives of Gauteng are not democratically elected to represent the Gauteng province at the national conference and do not enjoy the support of our clients. Our clients reserve all rights they may in law in this regard”, the attorneys wrote.

Tsebe reportedly said during his maiden speech that the taxi industry was its own worst enemy, urging for taxi violence to cease. He blamed the violence on the disputes over taxi routes.


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Setumo Stone 

Political Journalist

+27 11 713 9001
Setumo.Stone@citypress.co.za
www.citypress.co.za
69 Kingsway Rd, Auckland Park

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