D-Day for warring Western Cape taxi industry

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Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula and WC Transport MEC Daylin Mitchell
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula and WC Transport MEC Daylin Mitchell
Jenni Evans
  • It is D-Day for the Western Cape's warring taxi industry.
  • Certain routes may be closed after a deadly series of shootings, targeting drivers and passengers. 
  • High-level talks are under way in Cape Town, which Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula is also attending.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula attended high-level talks with taxi operators in Cape Town on Friday to try to stop weeks of murders of drivers and commuters in the province. 

Rivalry over loading rights between taxi associations, the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (CATA) and Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations (Codeta) seems to be at the centre of the conflict.

Taxi operators from the two associations and umbrella body Santaco, attended the talks in the boardroom of the province's Gene Louw Traffic College. 

Transport MEC Daylin Mitchell gazetted a notice of his intention to close routes between Paarl and Bellville, identified as one of the flash points in the ongoing taxi wars. 

It was a last-gasp attempt at making this vital form of transport safe for drivers and commuters. Friday is the deadline for submissions on Mitchell's intention to close a route between Mbekweni and Paarl. 

He also reserved his right to close other routes. If this happens commuters already struggling to move because some ranks have closed as a precaution, will struggle even more. 

READ | More cops deployed in Cape Town after 3 shot dead amid ongoing taxi war

Mitchell and the City of Cape Town's Transport MMC Felicity Purchase, as well as Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz were also present.

At least 80 people have been killed since the beginning of the year. Around 50 people, including an infant, have been wounded. 

The shootings are also putting strain on trauma services amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

On Thursday, Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo said Groote Schuur Hospital treated 10 gunshot wound victims as a result of taxi shootings on Wednesday alone. 

In the meantime, Fritz said in his opening remarks that three people who may have been among the shooters, were arrested on Thursday. 

"Their guns were still warm," said Fritz.

He said the firearms would be sent for ballistics testing.

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