News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Monday July 22nd 2019

Taxi bosses cough up for traffic fines

Some taxi associations own almost R1 million to the City in traffic fines but taxi bosses have agreed to pay their outstanding fines in installments. Photo: Peter Luhanga/WCN

Some taxi associations own almost R1 million to the City in traffic fines but taxi bosses have agreed to pay their outstanding fines in installments. Photo: Peter Luhanga/WCN

Cape Town taxi bosses have started paying their outstanding traffic fines with some association revealing that they owe the city close to R1million.

The sudden change of heart of the defiant taxi bosses, could be due to the newly introduced “100 Worst Taxi Drivers programme,”— initiated jointly by the City of Cape Town and the Provincial Department of Transport and Public Works, said Mayco member for Safety and Security, JP Smith.

Transport and Public Works Department head Hector Eliott yesterday (subs: Thurs) said the 100 Worst Taxi Drivers programme was primarily an education programme and involved a series of meetings with the South Africa National Taxi Council (Santaco) and taxi associations informing them about the consequences of not paying traffic fines.

Eliott said at this stage his department would be notifying the “100 Worst” taxi bosses with the most outstanding warrants of arrest, that their operating licenses would be cancelled pending a hearing at the Provincial Regulating Entity (PRE).

The taxi owners would be given three weeks to prepare their response attend a hearing to put forward their case, he said.

A taxi boss at Du Noon Taxi Association who did not want to be named for fear of reprisals from fellow taxi owners, said the DTA had racked up close to R1 million in outstanding fines which they had now started paying off

“We want to avoid the city harassing our taxis,” he said.

This was confirmed the DTA secretary Thembikile Sono who said the association had paid the city R11 500 towards their outstanding fines and warrant of arrests.

Santaco Western Cape Public Relations Officer Robert Langabalie said the city and province had made it “very convenient” for taxi bosses to pay off their outstanding traffic fines rather than risk arrest or the termination of their vehicle operating licenses.

Langabalie said the city had made facilities available to all taxi associations so that arrangements to pay off their fines in installments could be made.

He said it had been agreed that once taxi bosses and their drivers started paying off their installments they would not be arrested by law enforcement officials at roadblocks.

He said the taxi industry needed to honour their payment agreements.

“Most of the associations have started paying off their outstanding fines. Many have outstanding warrants of arrest. If they make arrangement the warrants of arrest are withdrawn,” he said.

Smith said the city was getting 20 extra staff allocated to “operation reclaim” to bolster efforts to bring errant drivers and taxi owners to book.

Smith said the number of automated number plate recognition cameras for roadblocks and mounted on “spy cars” would double next month and the municipal court capacity would increase on September 1, with three extra magistrates, two extra prosecutors and eight extra administration staff to ensure “we can deal with all the cases and clear the backlog”.

“All of this will close the dragnet around the habitual offenders and they will have to start changing their driving behaviour to be safer and more courteous.” — Peter Luhanga

Tags: Hector Eliott, JP Smith, santaco, taxi bosses

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