The Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport has obtained a court order interdicting violence between the Witwatersrand African Taxi Owners Association (WATA) and the Nancefield Dube West Taxi Association (Nanduwe).
On Saturday warring taxi operators torched as many as six minibus taxis and damaged many others in the Johannesburg CBD near Carlton Centre. One person was hurt in the mayhem.
The Johannesburg High Court order says the “chairpersons of both associations and their members are interdicted from preventing, obstructing, or otherwise interfering with the rights of taxi operators and or any public transport operators to operate their transport businesses between Soweto and Johannesburg CBD”.
The order further “interdicts the associations from intimidating, committing, or threatening to commit acts of violence against any public transport operator, their agents or employees and members of the public who make use and who wish to make use of the bus services between Soweto and Johannesburg CBD”.
The Department of Roads and Transport approached the court on an urgent basis, seeking the interdict which empowers the South African Police Service and the Gauteng Department of Community Safety, Gauteng Province to take necessary steps to ensure that the associations comply with this court order.
Gauteng Transport MEC Jacob Mamabolo said: “Whilst in our view the situation has returned to normality, we urge law enforcement to enforce the law, hold criminals accountable and secure the safety of commuters and other road users.
“We held positive consultations with both the leadership of WATA and NANDUWE together with their mother body structures, the Gauteng National Taxi Alliance (GNTA) and the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) respectively and we are buoyed by the fact that all parties have condemned the violence and committed to peace.”
At the meeting held on Sunday, 17 October 2021, all parties committed to the cessation of hostilities and ensuring the transport services between Soweto and the Johannesburg CBD continue safely, without endangering the lives of commuters.
“We are pleased that all parties involved have agreed to urgently address the root cause of the violence, which are disputes over routes. In this regard, the platforms for negotiations we have created as the provincial government remain available,” said Mamabolo.
He said the department remains steadfast in its programme of modernising and corporatising the taxi industry for it to be a competitive, safe and reliable mode of public transport.
“We believe that problems in the industry are not insurmountable and that through negotiation and consultation, we will create a taxi industry of the future,” said Mamabolo.
The MEC and the taxi associations agreed to further negotiations during the week and another meeting was set for Wednesday.