WATCH | Taxi violence explained: Western Cape commuters, workers suffer as deadly feud rages on

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  • A long-standing dispute between the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata) and the Congress of Democratic Taxi Association (Codeta) has claimed many lives and left many commuters stranded.
  • Western Cape Transport MEC Daylin Mitchell closed the B97 route between Bellville and Paarl for two months in an attempt to quell the violence.
  • Some commuters told News24 they have been unable to get to work for the past two weeks and are facing disciplinary action.

The ongoing feud between two rival taxi associations in the Western Cape has led to deadly shootings, costing lives and livelihoods, as thousands of commuters have been left stranded.

"I am disappointed that the commuter must suffer at the hands of a few," Western Cape Transport MEC Daylin Mitchell said in a media briefing.

At least 120 000 commuters have been affected by the disruptions, he added.

Commuters' struggle

News24 spoke to a commuter – a breadwinner – who could not support her family because she had missed several days of work.

"I have a daughter in the Eastern Cape that I support as well as a brother in Grade 12. I have to pay his housing costs," she said.

READ | Glimmer of hope for Cata and Codeta taxis in Cape Town as guns fall silent

The woman asked to remain anonymous for fear of intimidation.

"Even if the taxis say they are running tomorrow, I won't have any money to get to work," she said.

At least 83 people have died in the taxi industry fallout since the beginning of the year. At least 24 taxi-related murders were reported in July alone.

Criminal elements taking advantage of the taxi conflict

But taxi mother bodies Cata and Codeta have denied involvement in the spate of violence.

"We are a peace-loving organisation. I think we have control of our members. If you look at all areas run by Codeta, you won't find any buses being attacked. The violence is one issue we raised with our counterparts," Codeta secretary Lesley Skhuphela told News24.

The associations told News24 opportunistic criminal elements were capitalising on the conflict.

Cata secretary-general Mandla Hermanus also denied that their members were behind the attacks. 

"The image of the taxi industry is portrayed that we are thugs and can only solve issues through the barrel of a gun. We are working very hard to change that. In the three weeks, taxis have not been operating and having this conflict. We have appealed to our members not to attack the alternative transport," Hermanus said.

After weeks of fruitless round-table discussions, Mitchell was forced to shut the B97 taxi route between Bellville and Paarl. The two associations are not allowed to use the thoroughfare for two months.

Working together

The taxi associations are still discussing a deal beneficial to all parties. No Cata or Codeta affiliated taxis were operating in Bellville, Wynberg, Mitchells Plain and the Athlone public transport interchange.

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa and South African Federation of Trade Unions general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi have tried to broker a peace deal. They believe they've successfully broken the deadly impasse.

With relative calm restored since the deployment of the army in Cape Town and extra law enforcement this week, commuters are using alternative transport to get to work. The Golden Arrow Bus Service and Metrorail have additional fleets running to alleviate the backlog.

Cape Town bus terminus
Commuters wait for a Golden Arrow bus at the Cape Town bus terminus.
News24 Bertram Malgas
Cape Town bus terminus
A woman sits in a Golden Arrow bus as commuters make their way home.
News24 Bertram Malgas
Cape Town bus terminus
Thousands of commuters have had to use alternative modes of transport because of the ongoing taxi dispute.
News24 Bertram Malgas
Bellville Station
A woman walks past an empty Bellville station. No Cata or Codeta affiliated taxis were operating in Bellville, Wynberg, Mitchells Plain, and the Athlone public transport interchange.
News24 Bertram Malgas
Site C taxi rank
A usually packed Khayelitsha taxi rank is deserted as taxi associations are locked in negotiations.
News24 Bertram Malgas
Bellville taxi rank
No taxis are operating, forcing commuters to walk from the Bellville taxi rank.
News24 Bertram Malgas

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