News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Sunday August 18th 2019

City agrees to work with taxi bosses following protest

Intepretor Lwandiso Stofile (on left) helps Mayco member for transport Brett Herron negotiate on the Civic Centre deck with CATA chair Mandla Mata (on right) while about 1000 taxi bosses look on. Photo: Sandiso Phaliso/WCN

Intepretor Lwandiso Stofile (on left) helps Mayco member for transport Brett Herron negotiate on the Civic Centre deck with CATA chair Mandla Mata (on right) while about 1000 taxi bosses look on. Photo: Sandiso Phaliso/WCN


The City apologised to taxi bosses for neglecting their grievances after group of about 1 000 laid siege to the Civic Centre this morning as they protested over the City’s newly launched central transport authority, Transport for Cape Town (TCT).

The taxi bosses were infuriated by what they perceived as a lack of wide consultation and the selection of a few taxi bosses to represent the industry in negotiations over the implementation of the TCT and the expansion of the MyCiTi bus network to Khayelitsha and surrounds.

The Civic Centre’s doors were barred and only staff with valid identification or people with documentary proof of a reason to visit the premises were allowed in.

Taxi bosses’ anger was provoked by the City’s invitation to a few individual taxi bosses to attend the unveiling of a stone and planting of a tree on Friday morning in celebration of the launch of the TCT on Thursday October 18.

All forms of public transport are to fall under the management of the TCT as the City moves to handling government subsidies for Metrorail and Golden Arrow Buses and providing a single ticket system for all forms of public transport.

Denouncing this and the expansion of MyCiTi bus routes to the Cape Flats, taxi bosses held placards reading: ‘Black people are all over and not taken seriously they are losing their rights’; ‘Kill us BRT (Bus Rapid Transit system); ‘Kill us government’; ‘Smart card system engage the taxi industry’.

The protestors represented taxi associations under the umbrella bodies Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (CATA) and the Cape Organisation for Democratic Taxi Association (CODETA), both of which are affiliated to the South Africa National Taxi Council (Santaco) Western Cape.

Speaking outside the Civic Centre CATA Secretary General Nqazeleni Matayitayi said he has been in the taxi industry for over 15-years and he was not happy with the City’s public transport revolution.

Matayitayi said what made them upset was that Mayoral Committee Member for Transport Roads and Stormwater Brett Herron and Cape Town Executive Mayor Patricia de Lille had stated in the press that the City was “engaging all transport modes” in the Western Cape yet only a “few taxi bosses” were being consulted.

“Our investigations has revealed that the City is pinpointing individual taxi bosses and engaging them. They are implementing a divide and rule system,” said Matayitayi.

He said targeted individual taxi bosses run to their taxi regional structures and report that they have been approached by the City for engagement on the public transport changes.

“We believe the City is dividing us,” he said.

However, he said the taxi industry was not opposing the establishment of the TCT authority but wanted “to be part of the change process”.

“We (taxi industry) want to make sure we’re part of the plan. Government must not make plans for us but involve us in the planning,” he said.

It was unfair to incorporate government subsidised public transport such as Golden Arrow Busses and Metrorail with the taxi industry without levelling “the playing field”, he said.

He said the roll out of IRT phase 1A on the West Coast had left some taxi bosses unhappy and “we don’t want that”.

“We don’t want the Du Noon Taxi Association situation. After the City engaged with them they don’t want to talk to us yet they were our partners. We don’t know what the City told them. We don’t want that to happen to us,” he said.

After negotiating with the protest leaders, Herron, who was accompanied by bodyguards, apologised to the taxi bosses that their grievances were only being addressed following protest.

He said the City “accepts” that taxi’s were part of the transport future of the City of Cape Town and “we can’t move forward without taxis”.

It was not the City’s intention to “ignore” the taxi bosses, he said.

“We (the City) have listened to their (taxi bosses) leadership, they have legitimate concerns and grievances,” he said.

A joint press conference between the City and the taxi bosses has been set for Monday to state how both parties would work together. — Peter Luhanga

Tags: Brett Herron, Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association, Cape Organisation for Democratic Taxi Association, CATA, Codeta, Golden Arrow Buses, irt, metrorail, MyCiti, Nqazeleni Matayitayi, patricia de lille, santaco, South Africa National Taxi Council, TCT, Transport for Cape Town

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