No agreement between Cata and Codeta in Cape Town taxi war

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  • There is still no agreement between Cata and Codeta over the taxi war in Cape Town.
  • This means services at certain taxi ranks might be suspended and outside transport brought in.
  • The battle is primarily over the route between Mbekweni in Paarl and Bellville.

There was still no agreement between Cata and Codeta to end the deadly taxi war in Cape Town, Western Cape Transport MEC Daylin Mitchell said on Thursday.

"I am deeply disappointed to say that after numerous attempts to try and get some sort of resolution between the rival taxi associations Cata and Codeta that we are still at a stage where there is no official agreement," he said at a media briefing.

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

He added that in spite of talks and mediation, he was considering closing some routes and bringing in alternate transport until the situation stabilises.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said taxi associations have one more chance to resolve the violent dispute. 

According to him, all parties had agreed to cease fire, but conceded that he knew this "cannot be guaranteed" although authorities would "hold them accountable to their word".

Earlier, the Department of Health said the taxi shootings in Cape Town has led to a 9% spike in trauma cases.

READ | Eskom services affected by Cape Town taxi violence

In addition, it also disrupted the Covid-19 vaccination rollout, particularly at sites in the vicinity of Klipfontein Road, including those in Gugulethu and KTC.

Western Cape Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo said some healthcare workers could not get to work.

"They need to provide a safe passage for the health workers," she said.

Mbombo added that the department hoped to catch up on missed vaccinations on Saturday.

Speaking about the 9% increase in trauma cases over the past week, head of the Western Cape health department Dr Keith Cloete said: "It can only be related to the recent impact of taxi violence in community settings."

At least 81 people have been killed in shootings targeting taxis and buses since the beginning of the year. 

In one day last week, the trauma unit at Groote Schuur Hospital treated 10 gunshot wound victims.

This has been attributed to a battle over the route between Mbekweni in Paarl and Bellville in Cape Town.

A peace accord signed earlier in July fell apart quickly, and talks are under way between the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata) and the Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations (Codeta).

olden Arrow buses stopped alongside the N2 at Borc
Golden Arrow buses stopped alongside the N2 at Borchards Quarry.

During Wednesday's talks, mediators heard that ranks in Mbekweni, Paarl, were no-go zones for Cata. Violating this boundary means certain death.

"We lost three drivers who were shot and killed in Mbekweni," Cata's Mandla Hermanus said.

They asked to enter the Mbekweni trading territory of Codeta or for Cata's parking rights to at least be reinstated.

A Codeta representative said that would be equivalent to calling for war.

Thousands of commuters have been left stranded because of the dispute, with many having to run for cover when shots ring out.

Commuters are left with few alternative options with the rail system almost paralysed by arson, vandalism and cable theft, and the stalled MyCiTi bus contract to serve Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain.

This leaves Golden Arrow Bus Services (GABS) but one of its drivers was shot in the mouth this week and his colleagues are now too scared to get behind the wheel.

Thousands of people have to either walk or get friends and family to fetch them.

The SA National Defence Force is assisting all of the policing agencies with patrols and escorts.

GABS has cautiously increased its services and is updating passengers on social media.

At Wednesday's resumption of mediated talks between Cata and Codeta, the panel also heard why commuters often have to take more than one taxi to get to a destination, instead of being able to take a direct trip.

The associations' boundaries mean commuters must get off a taxi at a particular rank and pay again to get into a different association's taxi to complete their journey because drivers dare not cross the line for one long trip.

The department is mulling going to the High Court over the dispute.

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