MEC cannot shirk responsibility to address taxi violence

Issued by Marshall von Buchenroder, MPL
Shadow MEC for Transport

The MEC of Transport, Weziwe Tikana-Gxothiwe, cannot shirk her responsibilities and refuse to address the rampant, out-of-control taxi violence that is sweeping across the province.

Commuters are living in fear, not sure if they should climb in a taxi, or risk taking an e-hailing service, as both options threaten to place them in the middle of a raging war!

Lives are being lost, livelihoods are being destroyed, and the MEC is stamping her foot and threatening gun-toting criminals with the silent treatment, saying she will not hold talks until the shooting stops.

This is not leadership. If the parties do not want to accept mediation, then they must face the full might of the law. The MEC, who is also the MEC for Community Safety, has the resources available to her.

Police need to prioritise the killings and the assault on e-hailing services, and those responsible need to be brought to book and made examples of. Without harsh consequences, these killings will not stop.

The MEC could learn a lesson or two from her DA counterpart in the Western Cape.

Earlier this year, the DA-led Western Cape shut down taxi routes, taxi ranks and long-distance facilities for two months, because of the ongoing taxi violence and their refusal to negotiate. This forced the parties back to the negotiating table. Routes in the Western Cape have since been reopened and are being closely monitored by various law enforcement.

Should there be further acts of violence, all affected routes will be closed for all minibus-taxi operations for a period determined by the MEC and affected operating licences will be suspended.

Our people have the right to choose what transport they want to use. They should feel safe on the roads and not live in fear of being caught in the crossfire.

The same can be said of e-hailing service providers. They have the right to earn an honest living. The moratorium that has been placed on the issuing of permits to e-hailing service providers must be lifted.

We need to take back our Province’s roads from lawless individuals.