- The ANC in the Western Cape condemned the deadly taxi violence in Cape Town.
- The party called on the authorities to stop the killing.
- The opposition in the province also questioned the permit allocation system.
The ANC in the Western Cape condemned the deadly taxi violence in Cape Town.
"The killing indiscriminately of commuters has nothing to do with the fight between [taxi associations] CATA and Codeta," said Lerumo Kalako, convenor of the opposition party in the province.
"And, worse, shooting to kill the drivers. What have they done? They have nothing to do with the fight.
"The ANC alliance stance is: 'No Codeta, no CATA, you can't kill our people," he said during an online media briefing on Wednesday.
He also questioned the integrity of the permit allocation system.
The City of Cape Town's mayoral committee member for community safety, JP Smith, said there appeared to have been no attacks between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.
Police and local law enforcement authorities were guarding and patrolling public transport nodes, after months of conflict between the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (CATA) and the Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations (Codeta), who are mother bodies for taxi operators affiliated to the SA National Taxi Council (Santaco).
"Feedback from the City's safety and security meeting is that there have been no incidents of taxi violence reported this morning," said Smith. "Very few taxis are operating, and ranks and [public transport interchanges] are fairly quiet."
He said authorities were also conducting vehicle checks, searching for firearms, and ensuring that operating taxis are doing so legally.
However, in the uneasy calm, Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) warned employers not to penalise employees unable to get to work this week because of the erratic availability of transport.
"Employers must refrain from taking any action against our members," said Cosatu's Western Cape secretary, Malvern de Bruyn, at the briefing.
Thousands of commuters have been stranded, with limited transport alternatives.
After a Golden Arrow bus driver was shot in the mouth, drivers were too scared to drive, and commuters were stranded in the cold.
It also exposed many employees to the possibility of being replaced by unscrupulous employers, or to losing pay for not being at work.
More than 80 people have been murdered in the shootings since the beginning of the year.
The Western Cape transport department is mulling whether to approach a court for an interdict to help de-escalate the violence.
Transport MEC Daylin Mitchell has already gazetted an intention to suspend the Paarl to Bellville route to CATA and Codeta, and bring in alternate operators from other areas to serve commuters. He is considering comments received on this intention.
The transport department met with the Gauteng transport department, the City of Cape Town and the department's legal services, and its counsel is exploring the option of asking a court to place the Santaco-aligned associations under administration.
An application was not filed by Wednesday morning.
The department's chief director, Yasir Ahmed, said the application could ask that associations be confined to certain geographic areas.
The interdict would also ask that associations not intimidate associations in other regions to join them.
He said the City of Cape Town had put on hold an agreed 'Special Regulatory Process' (SRP) for all CATA and Codeta affiliates until the cycle of violence is stopped.
A letter to this effect was sent to all CATA and Codeta affiliated associations on Monday, 12 July 2021.
"This puts on hold an agreement between the [City of Cape Town] and Santaco to expedite the legalisation of 'long serving illegal taxis'," he said.
The department suspended its financial support agreement with Santaco, which included meeting allowances and office support for provincial and regional executives.
The Blue Dot incentive payments to CATA and Codeta have also been suspended after the operational status of their 'regions' was changed to 'red' as a direct result of the conflict.
"CATA and Codeta will not be eligible for incentive payments as a result," said Ahmed at a media briefing on Tuesday.
He explained that the conflict emanated from illegal operators starting a route, being forced to join one of the associations for protection, and their route then being taken over by the association.
There was also some "floor crossing" between associations. Ahmed said the taxi environment in the Western Cape is unique because operators must belong to one of the mother bodies.
In the meantime, the Cape Metro Development Council, which says it represents more than 25 development forums, called on the warring taxi associations to silence their guns for the sake of people's lives.
"As a structure, we firmly believe that only hired guns (inkabi) benefit from the ongoing mayhem and violence; genuine taxi operators and business people can only benefit from a taxi business run in an environment of peace and stability," the council said.
It has threatened a taxi boycott if they do not stop the shootings by 23 July.
Convener Ndithini Leon Tyhido told News24 there had, however, been a positive meeting with Codeta on Wednesday morning.
"There is a genuine sense of wanting a ceasefire," said Tyhido.
He called on the authorities, who are facilitating the formal talks, to include community and commuter representation for perspective on how it is affecting them.
"It is really unthinkable that, in 2021, even people travelling in private vehicles will be shot at," he said.
He raised concern about the stalled Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain MyCiTi N2 express bus contract, in which Codeta, Golden Arrow Bus Service and the Route 6 Taxi Association from Mitchells Plain were shareholders.
"That dispute has been going for more than a year," he said.
The council called for MyCiTi and AutoPax buses to be arranged for commuters, until the taxis were operating properly again.