Pugnacious taxi associations smokes the peace pipe
Belligerent Soweto taxi associations, Witwatersrand African Taxi Owners Association (WATA) and NancefieldDube West Taxi Association (NANDUWE), are back on the disputed ranks and routes again.
This follows lifting of their operating rights suspensionby Gauteng MEC for Road and Transport, Ismail Vadi.
Nanduwe and Wata have been on loggerheads over the ranks and routes in Soweto that claimed fatalities of dozens of taxi owners, drivers and some innocent commuters who were caught in the crossfire in the past few months.
The affected taxi ranks and routes were shut down by Vadi in mid-July due to on-going violent conflicts between WATA and NANDUWE, which negatively affected thousands of commuters.
According to Vadi, both associations have submitted a signed declaration denouncing violence amongst other things.
“I intend lifting the extraordinary measures instituted inJuly that were extended to both the associations which were aimed at normalising public transport services in Soweto.”
He said these assurances were taken into consideration and influenced him when making his decision.
He stressed that should either or both parties fail to adhere to the declaration, the department will not hesitate to act in terms of the law.
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In the declaration, WATA has agreed to:
• An immediate removal of its armed security company on the affected taxi routes and ranks;
• A commitment to end all forms of violence and intimidation.
• Conduct its operations in terms of the provisions and conditions provided in its Operating License until the appeal by WATA is adjudicated upon by the Transport Appeals Tribunal nationally.
• To support the idea of declaring taxi ranks and routes as “gun-free zones.
Nanduwe has agreed to the following terms set by Vadi:
- A commitment to end all forms of violence and intimidation.
• An immediate removal of armed security companies on all taxi routes and ranks allocated to the association.
• An agreement that Nanduwe will conduct its taxi operations in terms of the provisions and conditions provided in their Operating Licenses until the appeal by WATA is adjudicated upon by the Transport Appeals Tribunal nationally.
Vadi thanked commuters for their patience, support and understanding over the past four weeks.