WC taxis fully operational

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Pretoria - Commuters in the Western Cape breathed a sigh of relief as taxis became fully operational by midday today.

Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele announced an end to the strike late on Tuesday evening, following a meeting with the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco).

Provincial chairperson of Santaco, Vernon Billet, said the news that the strike had ended did not however reach all its members by this morning, and a mass meeting had to be called.

"We discontinued the strike late yesterday and unfortunately the message did not reach all our members. This morning we called a mass meeting to disseminate the message to all our striking members. We've since resumed our work and now taxis are operating," he said. 

Yesterday, Ndebele said he had been informed about the problems regarding the issuing of the operating licences and the impounding of vehicles in the Western Cape by the provincial authorities and the City of Cape Town Municipality.

He said in order to assist the process of resolving the matter peacefully, vehicles which have been impounded had been returned to the owners. 

However, he said there was an acknowledgement by all that illegal vehicles could be withdrawn from operation by authorities.

Taxi operators went on strike on Monday after talks between Santaco and the provincial transport department did not bear fruit. 

On Tuesday, several incidents of stone throwing and attempted petrol bombings were reported in Cape Town. The police said 28 cases related to the strike had been opened and a number of arrests had been made.

The minister urged taxi operators to honour the legal mandate as contained in their operating licences.

He has also requested the establishment of a joint working committee consisting of the National Department of Transport, the Western Cape Provincial Government, the Cape Town municipality and Santaco in order to resolve all the issues which led to the strike. 

Ndebele said the issue should be resolved over the next two days.