News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Friday August 23rd 2019

Cape Town parking by-law could put taxi washers out of work

Peter Luhanga

Taxi operators double parking at drop and go zones and people making a living washing taxis in parking lots will be outlawed if the city adopts a draft by-law on parking.

The proposed by-law states that taxis may only be washed in an area demarcated for the purpose and taxi operators behaving riotously or indecently at taxi ranks could be removed from the rank by an authorised city official.

The by law, which seeks to regularise parking rules across the entire metropole, is available in sub-councils for the public to comment until September 30.

Taxi operators in the greater Blaauwberg region are going to be severely affected by the draft by-law if it goes through in its current form.

During peak hour traffic dozens of taxis park along Blaauwberg road next the Bayside and Table View shopping malls, where taxi washers also ply their trade, although the Du Noon Taxi Association (DTA) which runs that route has been calling for a proper rank in the area.

Table View Rate Payers Association (TVRA) chairwoman Joy McCarthy said the situation with taxis in Blaauwberg Road should “never had been allowed in the first place”, but the city had always said it did not have enough law enforcement to police the area.

McCarthy said, apart from disturbing traffic, the taxi’s were washed there in the drop-and-go zone and had also attracted informal traders who sold their wares on the pavement.

She said the taxi operators and informal traders urinated on to the malls and some even defecated in the gutters, making the entire place reeked.

“These people trading there don’t pay VAT or rent. [They] contribute nothing to the economy.

“It’s supposed to be an up-class market suburb with the rates we pay. We are not proud anymore. We are embarrassed at the state of the suburb. We can’t bring visitors anymore.”

But the DTA – a major taxi association operating in area – says the proposed by-law infringes on people’s rights.

“They [the city] are abusing their powers by formulating these by-laws. These people formulating these by-laws sit in offices, they don’t know what is happening on the ground,” said DTA spokesperson Terrence Mhlangatshoba.

Mhlangatshoba said if the draft by-law was adopted in its current form hundreds of people who earned a living washing taxis would be out of work.

He also said even though by-law was available for public comment, most people who commented had office jobs and businesses and would “most likely” not be affected by the by-law.

He said most of the swelling ranks of the unemployed in Du Noon survived by washing taxis at the ranks and or at queuing points.

“They charge R25 a taxi and can wash up to 15 taxi’s a day,” he said.

But the SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) said the by-law would bring discipline to the taxi industry.

Santaco spokesperson Danny Joseph said people who earned a living by washing taxi’s at taxi ranks created a mess at the ranks.

“It’s good thing they don’t allow them to wash taxis if there are no facilities,” said Joseph.

One taxi washer in Du Noon who did not want to be named, said he would resort to being a thief if he was pushed out of work

The man said he had been washing taxis for five years and fed his two children and his wife from his earnings. — West Cape News

Tags: blaauwberg, taxis

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