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Western Cape taxi industry set to embark on two-day shutdown but all is not lost

Western Cape taxi industry set to embark on two-day shutdown but all is not lost

Cape Town – The SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) in the Western Cape is planning a taxi shutdown on Monday and Tuesday, because of the suspension of the Blue Dot taxi programme.

Santaco provincial chairperson Mandla Hermanus revealed this after a meeting to get consensus from associations across the province on how to respond to this, the by-laws under which taxis are impounded, and calls for the provincial government to support the formalisation of the industry.

“Today we called a meeting of all the chairpersons of the primary associations in the Western Cape of all eight regions that constitute Santaco. We were asking for a mandate and a way forward, since the government has now decided to stop assisting the taxi industry as far as the Blue Dot taxi programme is concerned.”

He said they had hoped to avoid the shutdown.

“This is not an easy decision for us to take because when we go on shutdown, our taxis don’t operate. And it’s us losing money at the end of the day.”

In requesting a response from the mobility department, hours after the announcement at the Portlands Indoor Centre in Mitchells Plain, the Cape Argus was informed that the taxi industry had gone into a meeting with the department.

Earlier this month, the department announced the termination of the Blue Dot programme, which is a rating system that rewards improved driving behaviour and quality service, while working to reduce illegal operators.

At the time, MEC Daylin Mitchell said the provincial government needed the support of the national government to fund the continuation and expansion of the pilot programme.

The minibus taxi industry transports 2 million passengers daily in the province, and accounts for 75% of all public transport trips.

In addressing taxi associations, Hermanus said: “We need to show them how the Western Cape will look if there were no taxis,” to loud applause from the packed hall.

After discussing the issues faced by the minibus taxi industry in the province, associations were asked if they supported the mandate of a two-day shutdown, with those present unanimous in their decision to proceed.

Those in support include the Northern Region, Two Oceans, Codeta, Cata, Mitchells Plain, Greater Cape and Boland associations.

The question of safety and alternatives for commuters was also highlighted during the meeting, prompting Hermanus to make it clear that they were not responsible for whatever lawlessness may befall the city’s streets.

“We as the taxi industry are embarking on a shutdown, it is not a strike. So what we are asking for is that we park our vehicles at home or at the ranks in order to minimise opportunities for violence.

“We will not be responsible for what happens on the streets, we are not marching. We will not be responsible for what happens on the highways, we are not law enforcement. What we will be doing is sitting at home. I’ll be taking calls from the media while I’m at home,” Hermanus said.

The Cape Argus asked if the City had been made aware of the meeting between the associations, and what safety measures were in place for residents on the days of the proposed shutdown. The City directed all queries to the provincial government.

Mobility spokesperson Jandré Bakker said MEC Daylin Mitchell would meet with the taxi industry today, Thursday.

rafieka.williams@inl.co.za

Cape Argus

Original Article