Western Cape commuters fear pay cuts and job losses following ongoing taxi strike

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Golden Arrow buses stopped alongside the N2 to transport workers who stood in long lines in the pouring rain amid ongoing taxi violence. (Photo by Gallo Images/Brenton Geach)
Golden Arrow buses stopped alongside the N2 to transport workers who stood in long lines in the pouring rain amid ongoing taxi violence. (Photo by Gallo Images/Brenton Geach)
  • Cape Town commuters are worried about having their pay cut and even losing their jobs after missing several days of work.
  • A war between two taxi associations dating back to 2018 has spread fear across the city.
  • Golden Arrow Bus Service said it was willing to use all its resources to serve commuters.

Western Cape commuters have raised concerns of pay cuts and threats of possible job losses after missing several days of work due to the lack of public transport caused by ongoing taxi violence gripping Cape Town.  

Angry Capetonians say the impact of the ongoing taxi war between the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (CATA) and the Congress of Democratic Taxi Association (CODETA) associations will have a negative impact on their livelihoods because of threats they've been receiving at work. 

READ | When will the taxi violence end, asks Cape Town commuter desperate to get to work

Sive Matu, 24, who moved to Cape Town from the Eastern Cape in March, told News24 that she has already been absent four times since the taxi violence commenced. 

"I had to get out of the taxi I was in last week Thursday and run for my life as the driver of the taxi was busy getting assaulted," she said. 

According to Matu, she won't be compensated for the days she's missed because she hasn't accumulated any sick leave or annual leave. 

A Groote Schuur hospital nurse said she was under immense stress with little to no public transportation from Strandfontein to Cape Town.  

She added:

I have patients I need to attend to, some of our nursing staff travel very far to come do their shift and rely on us to take over on time. This public transport is really causing major havoc in my life right now.

Another commuter, Cheslin Esau, 28, said he had to fork out more money for petrol as he had to ask someone to take him to work since he isn't able to use his weekly Golden Arrow Bus Service (GABS) clip card from Bonteheuwel to Bellville. 

According to Western Cape chief director for transport, Yasir Ahmed, the war between the two mother body associations, CATA and CODETA dates back to 2018. 

READ | This is what is causing Cape Town's taxi violence 

Cape Town call centre Manager Domonique Parker said that since the taxi violence started recently he has been inundated with messages and calls from his staff members advising him that they cannot come into work because of the "chaos" happening in parts of the province.

She said:

We are not forcing our staff to come into work, however some of us have arranged to fetch some of them in the different areas for work. Many of our senior managers have cars, and we have agreed to form lift clubs in areas needed most where we would pick up some of our staff.

Parker added that the company will be advising its staff to work from home until the situation dies down.   

Following a transport meeting that was held on Wednesday, Premier Alan Winde said Golden Arrow had indicated it was willing to maximise its resources to assist commuters despite the challenging conditions they are working under. 

A Golden Arrow bus driver was shot in the mouth on Monday during yet another taxi-related shooting. 

Metro Rail spokesperson Riana Scott said that uncertainty around staff attendance to open stations and operate trains makes it very difficult to plan services – a significant number of employees rely on public transport. 

"We are still recovering from an unprecedented Covid-19 incident which prompted a suspension of services last Friday. Although facilities have been disinfected, more than 20 train crew and operations staff are still in isolation," added Scott. 

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