Warring taxi associations in the Western Cape have reached a ceasefire following an intervention facilitated by SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi and United Democratic Movement (UDM) president Bantu Holomisa.
The standoff between the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata) and the Congress of Democratic Taxi Association (Codeta) over routes saw public transport being disrupted for just over two weeks and the army deployed to quell the violence. The violence has cost 24 people their lives and left 29 others injured.
It forced the Western Cape department of transport to apply section 91(2) of the National Land Transport Act for two months. This action effectively closed the B97 route between Mbekweni/Paarl and Bellville.
In a joint peace accord, a copy of which City Press has seen, Cata and Codeta pledged to coexist peacefully:
Those refusing to abide by this agreement will be reported to authorities.
Aside from the Bellville to Mbekweni/Paarl route, the Somerset West and Mfuleni routes have also been affected by the taxi war.
The peace accord
Further, the agreement states that an urgent request must be made to Western Cape and national governments to put rank closures on hold for seven days to allow the current Saftu/UDM-facilitated process to be exhausted. Once the seven days have passed, all problematic routes must be closed until an agreement is reached.
A peace task team comprising five people from each association will be established to negotiate a supplementary agreement, so that hefty fines are imposed on associations in future for every attack on either Codeta or Cata members. Each association is obliged to punish those undermining the spirit of this agreement.
As part of this agreement, if a taxi belonging to a member of either association is burnt or damaged, the other association will be liable to pay the owner for the book value or the damage of the vehicle.
Both associations have agreed to find an interim working arrangement between themselves in terms of the disputed routes.
“We are considering a request made by Cata that the route between Bellville and Mbekweni/Paarl be ceded to them so that they alone operate in that route. Cata is willing to withdraw from all 25 to 27 other routes operating within Paarl if this is agreed. If this is not acceptable to the other side, Cata proposes that all of the 27 routes within Paarl and between Mbekweni/Paarl and Bellville be operated on a quota basis of a 50-50 split.”
Codeta has proposed that there should be a split of 37 taxis from Cata and 20 taxis from Codeta operating between Bellville and Paarl on condition that Codeta is allowed to operate alone in Mbekweni. Cata should not operate between Mbekweni and Paarl for security reasons for at least three months, Codeta proposed.
The parties have agreed to approach Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, Western Cape Transport MEC, Daylin Mitchell, Police Minister Bheki Cele and the SA National Defence Force to ensure that a security arrangement to ensure the safety of drivers, operators passengers is found while they seek the best solution among the proposals.
“Restoring peace, rebuilding trust and solving long-term problems is our aim. We understand we will suffer setbacks and difficulties en route. This peace agreement will require tenacity on the part of all parties, including the government,” the accord reads.